In the final phase of country qualification for the 2008 Olympic Games, the International 470 Class Association is investing 30,000 Euros with their Olympic Pathway Solidarity Grant.
The Olympic Pathway Solidarity Grant (OPSG) supports ISAF Member National Authorities (MNAs) and their talented two person dinghy sailors to seize their final chance to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition. The OPSG was launched by the International 470 Class Association at the end of 2006, with the aim to support talented 470 sailors with Olympic ambitions and abilities, but who faced financial obstacles on their path to Beijing.
The 2008 470 World Championships, which take place from 21-30 January in Melbourne, Australia, are the last event where sailors can qualify their country for the men's and women's two person dinghy events at the Beijing Olympic Games. With a budget of over 10.000 Euros for the 2008 edition of the OPSG, the 470 Class have financed transport or charter fees for those crews who have not qualified their country and have been admitted to the 2008 edition of the OPSG Programme.
Alberto PREDIERI, President of International 470 Class Association explains the philosophy behind the OPSG programme. "Sports development is not a logical issue in all countries around the world. This does not mean that such countries do not have sportsmen that have the same enthusiasm, talent and especially the Olympic dream. As a class with an Olympic status, we feel it as an obligation to contribute to the Olympic philosophy. Participating at the Olympic Games must be an issue of sports and dreams for all, and not a matter of money,"
The first edition of the OPSG programme in 2007, which had a budget of over 20,000 Euros, provided six fully-equipped charter boats from licensed builder Nautivela at the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships
in Cascais, Portugal. This gave the first six crews admitted to the OPSG programme a chance to qualify their country for the 2008 Games. In addition to this equipment support, and with the support of Dolphin Maritime based in the Netherlands, the International 470 Class Association provided a training camp prior to the ISAF Worlds and coaching during the event.
The OPSG is part of the Sailors Support Programmes of the International 470 Class Association. The budget of 30,000 Euros concerns core cost, and is excluding the work of management committee members who provide their services on a voluntary base.
"With the support through this programme we do not only want to help campaigning sailors with equipment and money. We also focus on knowledge transfer and expect those who receive our support to share the knowledge they have gained and support the development of sailing, and especially 470 sailing, in their country,"
said Marta WEORES, 1st Vice President of the 470 Class.
International 470 Class Association Sailors Support Programmes - www.470.org/-Programmes
470 World Championships 2008 - www.470.org/champ08/world/