15-year-old Owen Siese won the right to represent Bermuda at the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Sailing on Sunday, the final day of the four-day YOG Selection Trials.
The Trials were run by the Byte Class of Bermuda in the Great Sound and hosted by the Spanish Point Boat Club. Owen was able to beat five other hopefuls with a strong performance throughout the trial's 16 races, which were sailed in varied conditions over three weekends.
Siese, representing the Sandys Boat Club, started the second half of the trials on Saturday morning tied with Kalin Hillier, both with 16 points. Saturday's weather tested the boys with 14 -18 knot northerlies. Siese was able to post three first place finishes and a second to enter the final day with a comfortable 17 point lead after Hillier unfortunately found himself saddled with equipment problems which kept him from finishing the first three races of the day.
Sunday's conditions were quite different from the previous day with a light winds from the northwest, testing the sailors' patience and skill as the breeze scattered sparingly across the course. Dimitri Stevens was the top sailor of the day while once again Siese and Hillier found themselves tied on points for Sunday's racing.
Final Results - 2010 Youth Olympic Selection Trials
1st Owen Siese - 22 points
2nd Kalin Hillier - 33 points
3rd Dimitri Stevens - 35 points
4th Raheim Steede - 48 points
5th Mackenzie Cooper - 65 points
6th Alex Davis - 69 points
Siese will join young local athletes from triathlon and athletics plus three officials to form the Bermuda Youth Olympic Team for the first ever Youth Olympic Games. The games will take place in Singapore and will run from August 14 - 26.
The Warwick Academy student will compete against 34 sailors in the Boy's Sailing Competition in the Byte Dinghy and will be accompanied by sailing coach Pablo Weber who has been training the local Byte sailors for the last year. Siese has attended the CORK regatta, North American Championships and two World Championships over the last 12 months along with other local Byte Class sailors and Coach Weber.
At his last overseas event in April, the Byte World Championships in France, the current Bermuda National Byte Champion was able to sail against many of the competitors he is due to face in Singapore and finished ninth overall after hovering in the top five for most of the regatta.
Since then Siese and the other sailors have been training hard on the water and working out in the gym leading up to the selection trials. Further Byte Class training will continue from the Spanish Point Boat Club in the coming weeks and will include lining up against both local and foreign Byte sailors with an aim to provide Bermuda's Youth Olympic Sailor with tough competition making sure he is "battle ready" at the penultimate event.