ASHLEY was expected to prove his potential in the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy just finished in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Closely watched by Olympic Coaching Director, Rod DAVIS ASHLEY finished third in a fleet of 67. He had eight top five finishes in the twelve race regatta including two race wins.
'I'm delighted,' says ASHLEY about the announcement. 'It's another positive step in my campaign towards Beijing.'
Earlier this year ASHLEY spoke about his liking for the new Olympic equipment.
'I'm really enjoying sailing the new board and I'm really focussed on the World Championships this year and especially on my build up to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing,' said ASHLEY. 'The change to the RS:X has been very positive for me as the board suits my strengths much more than the Mistral.'
DAVIS has also announced that 1996 and 2004 Olympian, PEPPER is in the Olympic Squad. After declaring his intention to campaign a Star, PEPPER and his crew WILLIAMS have proven their potential with an impressive fifth place amongst a strong 67 boat fleet at the ISAF Grade 1 Rolex Miami OCR in late January this year.
Following that PEPPER also came third at the ISAF Grade 2 Expert Olympic Garda in Lake Garda, Italy.
'I finished third in the Expert Olympic regatta, behind Freddy LÖÖF [(SWE)], bronze medallist in the Finn 2000 and double World Champion in the Star 2002 and 2004,' explains PEPPER. 'Diego NEGRI [(ITA)], three-times Olympian was second.'
PEPPER is competing right now, with temporary crew David GILES in the Star Eastern Hemisphere Championships in Naples, Italy.
'This is one of the bigger events in Europe so we are working hard to have another good result,' says PEPPER.
The now twelve member Yachting New Zealand Olympic Squad are managed by Olympic Coaching Director, DAVIS and Olympic Operations Manager, Leslie EGNOT. With representatives in eight of the Olympic classes the Squad now includes the following:
Each of the Olympic Squad are required to maintain high international standards with results at significant regattas in order to retain their position in the Squad for next year.