Qingdao on horizon for 17 year olds
To convince Yachting New Zealand selectors, sailors need to demonstrate that they have Olympic medal winning potential. While medals in Qingdao, China this year are the immediate goal, selectors may look beyond 2008 to 2012 for outstanding sailors.
Given the exceptionally young age of Evans and Burling their nomination to sail in 2008 also stands New Zealand in good stead to have sailors with medal winning potential and Olympic experience in 2012. The Olympic Sailing Regatta will be held in Weymouth, England.
Yachting New Zealand selectors believe the young duo has proven they have significant talent in the double-handed 470 class prompting the nomination. New Zealand’s top 470 performers in all the recent major international events Evans and Burling have impressed since stepping up to the 470 barely twelve months ago after dominating the 420 class.
Most recently they finished 11th at the 2008 470 World Championship sailed in Melbourne narrowly missing a top ten place when they were just one point adrift of 10th place when the medal race was decided.
Last year Evans and Burling secured extra support by earning themselves entry into the Yachting New Zealand Olympic Squad with a 6th place at the 2007 470 European Championships. This result also saw them included in the New Zealand team to compete at the Olympic Test Event known as the Pre-Olympics in Qingdao in August 2007. There they finished ninth.
The pair are the reigning 420 World Champions, a title they have won twice consecutively; first in 2006 and then successfully defending the title in 2007 here in New Zealand.