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12 December 2005, 10:16 am
Championship Launched Today
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Juniper Australian Youth Championship 2006
Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia

Australia's peak sailing event for youth was officially launched at Mooloolaba Yacht Club today. The Juniper 2006 Australian Youth Championship will attract the best young sailors from around the country to vie for a place on the Australian Youth Team and will also see international competitors challenge for victory.
Over 179 boys and girls in more than 127 boats will contest the five day event from 6-10 January 2006, the ninth running of this under 19 national regatta.

At today's launch Yachting Australia Chief Executive Phil JONES welcomed David KORTLANG Marketing Manager of event sponsor Juniper, as well as local competitors and media. He announced, 'This is the most important event in the youth sailing calendar and will draw competitors from every state in Australia. The fact that we'll also welcome competitors from our neighbours Singapore and New Zealand is a reflection of the status of this event and the standard of youth sailing in Australia.'

The winners of some divisions will be front runners in the selection process to represent Australia at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Weymouth, Great Britain next year. Australia is a leading nation in youth sailing, having won more gold medals at these World Championships than any other nation.

According to JONES, the Juniper 2006 Australian Youth Championship is an important part of developing these world class sailors. He expressed his thanks to the naming sponsor for their strong support of the Championship and the future of Australian sailing.

'One of the predictors of Olympic success is success at the youth level. At the Athens Olympics five of the eleven events were won by former ISAF Youth Worlds medallists. We're very grateful to Juniper for their support of youth sailing in Australia today, which will ensure we produce the champions of tomorrow.'

Juniper Marketing Manager David KORTLANG said the company was delighted to be involved with such a dynamic, youth-orientated event that showcases Mooloolaba's waterfront lifestyle.

'Juniper has played a key role in developing Mooloolaba into the vibrant tourist and lifestyle precinct that it is today and our projects are synonymous with waterfront quality,' he said.

'This Championship is a fantastic opportunity to show-off Mooloolaba's boating waters and facilities as well as the lifestyle attractions of The Esplanade, where Juniper's new Oceans resort will be the premier position to relax, entertain and view the racing action.'

Local teenagers Sean O'ROURKE and Barney JOHNSON will contest the Hobie 16 catamaran event and are aiming to take the title. O'ROURKE, a National Champion in the single handed Sabot class, and JOHNSON, who competed at the 2005 Hobie World Championship in South Africa, have been training five days per week in preparation for the competition. Both attended today's launch and put on a spectacle for guests, displaying their skill in the Hobie 16.

The Hobie 16 (with spinnaker) division is open to both boys and girls, while other classes have separate male and female divisions, and in some cases a mixed division as well. These are double-handed boys, girls and mixed (420 and 29er); single-handed boys and girls (Laser & Laser Radial respectively) and sailboard boys and girls (Formula Raceboard & hybrid style).

Mooloolaba will come alive on 28 December when the Australian 420 Championship starts, an ideal warm up for the youth sailors and a form guide for the Juniper Australian Youth Championship. At the same time the Laser, Laser Radial and 29er sailors will contest their open age National Championship at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Brisbane.

On Thursday 5 January a display of competing boats will be open to the public in the forecourt of Oceans resort. It will be an excellent opportunity to discover the sailing available to teenagers and children and to explore the boats first hand.

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