Consequently the Kiwi Yngling team of Sharon FERRIS, Raynor SMEAL and Olivia POWRIE, currently at #12 but former leaders of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, will miss out on the Beijing Games. FERRIS was aiming for her third Games appearance, after finishing fifth in the Europe in 1996 and seventh in the Yngling in 2004. Another Athens Olympian, Shelley HESSON, who was 16th in the Women's 470 in Athens and was again campaigning a 470 with crew Bianca BARBARICH-BACHER, also misses out.
Star And Men's 470 Crews Confirmed
Whilst the Kiwi team will have no Yngling or Women's 470 representatives in Beijing, it will feature the youngest sailors ever to represent New Zealand at an Olympic Games.
Carl EVANS and Peter BURLING are New Zealand's top 470 performers and were this week named to the New Zealand Olympic Team for Beijing 2008.
At just 17 years old the pair has impressed selectors with a string of top performances at all the recent major international events. Most recently they finished 11th at the 2008 470 World Championships in Melbourne. The pair stepped up to the 470 class less than 12 months ago from the 420 where they were reining World Champions.
The first members of the yachting team to Beijing 2008 were selected in October 2007 and included veteran windsurfer, Barbara KENDALL. At 40, KENDALL is heading for her fifth Olympic Games with a 23-year head start on EVANS and BURLING.
Seasoned yachtsmen Hamish PEPPER (36) and Carl WILLIAMS (26) in the Star Class also had their Beijing spots confirmed. Beijing 2008 will be PEPPER's third Olympic Games behind Atlanta 1996 and Athens 2004. PEPPER and WILLIAMS won the Star World Championships in 2006.
New Zealand Olympic Selector, Barry MAISTER, is delighted at the latest selections to the New Zealand Olympic Team. "There are now 16 New Zealanders confirmed for Beijing and all have shown selectors they're capable of a top performance at Beijing," he said. "We're building a strong team of close to 300 athletes and support staff that will make New Zealanders proud at Beijing this August."
Des BRENNAN, Chief Executive of Yachting New Zealand, welcomed the latest announcements and has his sights set on a strong performance in Qingdao from the New Zealand yachting team in five months time. "We have remained true to nominating only sailors who are genuine medal prospects," said BRENNAN. "We have a very exciting team."
ISAF Olympic Games microsite - www.sailing.org/olympics