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3 December 2011, 11:20 am
ISAF Youth Worlds Sailors Come To The Forefront In Perth
Raul Rios At The 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds
Raul Rios At The 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds

Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships
Perth, Australia

At the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships many of the sailors on show have come through the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships, which will celebrate its 42nd edition at Dublin, Ireland from 12-21 July 2012.
Ben Ainslie (GBR), Robert Scheidt (BRA) and Alessandra Sensini (ITA) started their glittery careers at the ISAF Youth Worlds and have gone on to achieve World Championship and Olympic glory in their respective classes.

Following the 2011 edition in Zadar, Croatia a new breed of sailors are coming to the forefront and aiming to qualify their country for the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.

For Puerto Rico's Raúl Ríos he is sailing at his first ISAF Worlds in the Men's 470 and with three ISAF Youth Worlds under his belt he was somewhat of a veteran in Croatia. But the youngster is not fazed by the move from the 420 to the 470 and from youth to senior sailing.

"There's a big difference here in Perth, especially moving from youth to Olympic classes," said Rios. "Here we have professional sailors and they are some of the best in the world."

Rios was part of the Athlete Participation Programme in 2010 and 2011 and was guided through the championship under the World Youth Sailing Trust Coach, "Seeing different points of view from different coaches really helped me a lot. I gained information from everyone bit by bit and that helped me decide what I wanted for my boat.

"The 2011 coach, Huge Styles, sailed catamarans, so he helped me a lot even though we sail 420s and we were able to sail at maximum speed at every angle."

At this year's Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, Rios is not alone as the only APP athlete from the 2011 Youth Worlds. Joining him is compatriot Ramon Gonzalez who will be sailing the Laser, RS:X Boys gold medallist Cho Wonwoo (KOR) will be on the Men's RS:X starting line, as will Matias Canseco (PER).

Since its introduction in 2002, APP has helped over 150 sailors and has proven to be a great success with sailors from previous years slowly moving up the ranks. At just 14 years old Pavlos Kontides (CYP) received funding at the 2004 edition in Gdynia, Poland. He has since sailed at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and worked his way to World #6 in the Laser.

And like Kontides, Rios has his own dream of competing at an Olympic Sailing Competition, "Our goal is to qualify for London 2012. I've been sailing Snipes up until the end of October because I was at the Pan American Games so now it is full 470 and try here in Perth or in Barcelona to qualify for London."

APP has enabled new countries to compete at ISAF Youth Worlds for the first time and with Kontides showcasing the success be prepared to see Rios, Wonwoo and Bazo at the top of their ISAF World Rankings in the near future.

The Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships website will bring you results, tracking, live updates and all the latest news both on and off the water.

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