The team is was selected following the conclusion of the OAMPS Australian Youth Championship at the Sandy Bay Sailing Club in Hobart yesterday. Reigning Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champions in the Girl's Two Person Dinghy, Belinda KERL and Chelsea HALL (AUS), missed out on the chance to defend their title after losing out in a final race showdown with Hannah NATTRASS and Michelle MULLER (AUS).
After finishing third in the Volvo Trophy standings in last year's Youth Worlds in Weymouth, Great Britain, the Aussies will start as one of the favourites for this year's title. Despite the absence of KERL and HALL, they take an experienced team to Canada, with Jye MURRAY, Gabrielle KING, Alisha KAWALLA and Jason WATERHOUSE and Michael MCCORMICK all returning to the Youth Worlds after competing in Weymouth.
Yachting Australia Chief Executive Phil JONES predicted that the team would be very competitive. 'It is always difficult to say how we will go, but our team have rarely been outside the top five in recent years,' he said.
'Our team last year was pretty young, but in 2007 the team features competitors travelling to the world championships for the second time.
'Experience is invaluable. It is a bit like the Olympics where competitors rarely win the first time they compete. In nine of the 11 classes in Athens, the gold medallist had competed previously.'
The NSW Institute of Sport's head coach of the sailing programme, Eric STIBBE, said the team's prospects at the World Championships were very promising.
'Importantly, four of the sailors have experienced the international regatta before,' he said. 'They are all very good sailors. Jye and Gabrielle have lifted their performance from last year's nationals, and Jason sailed very well.
'Jason finished fourth at the Worlds last year and I would like to see him do better this time, and with a year's experience he is a good prospect.'
Yachting Victoria Coaching Manager Mark JACKSON said while MCKEON was in a 'beginning phase' when it came to sailboarding, he was a very talented sailor from a talented sailing family, 'He will be sailing with his father, Simon, in the F18 worlds in Queensland and does a lot of short board stuff and sails off the beach near his Brighton home,' he said.
JACKSON said it was difficult to predict how MCKEON would perform at the Youth Worlds, 'He still has a bit to learn in terms of sailboarding techniques, but he is a very good sailor.'
WA coach Belinda STOWELL said 16 year old PARKINSON and KELLY were talented sailors who were also very determined to do well, 'They did a lot of extra work with me before the championships in WA and I think that really showed,' she said.
'After a tough first day at the championships in Hobart where they finished eighth and fourth, they turned it around on days two and three and really got their game together to win four of the five next races.'
STOWELL said PARKINSON, whose sister, Tessa PARKINSON, is a member of the Australian Sailing Team, and KELLY had every chance to perform very well at the Youth Worlds in Ontario this July, 'But it will be important that they get international experience before the Youth Worlds.'