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20 January 2005, 11:27 am
Women in Wind
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Canadian Yachting Association

Nikola GIRKE, a native of Vancouver and a member of Canada's 2004 Olympic Sailing team in the 470 class, visited the Comox Valley on Friday January 7 to talk to students at Aspen Middle School and Highland Secondary. Nikola was funded to attend this presentation via the CYA Women in Wind Program.
"Women in Wind" is a program initiated by the Canadian Yachting Association in place to promote the many opportunities available to girls and women in the sport of sailing. As indicated by Nikola, " My chosen sport of sailing has been a great motivator to me and in my pursuit of excellence. Having learned to sail at the age of 9 years old, the sport gave me a focus in life".

Over 500 students from Comox schools had the opportunity to listen to Nikola talk about her experiences and what her dream of being an Olympian meant to her. "The benefits of being so involved and committed to a sport far out weigh the downsides. You get to travel, make many new friends and there are numerous opportunities which present themselves along the way. It is hard work and demands a great deal of tenacity and dedication to stick with the training. Since coming to the Comox Valley and seeing the Highland School Sailing Program and what it has to offer to both girls and boys I wondered just how much easier it might have been to attain my goals if I had had that opportunity."

What is next for Nikola? She is changing from sailing an Olympic 470 sail boat to take on the challenge of windsurfing at the next Olympics in Beijing.
James Robinson/CYA
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