Douglas Is Youngest Sailor In His Class At Beijing Olympics

  Gregory Douglas, at eighteen years old, is the only sailor representing Barbados at the 2008 Olympic Games. The sailing events are being held in the coastal city of Qindgao, where a magnificent sailing facility has been built for the games.

The sailors are challenged by the difficult conditions in Qingdao. The test events held at the site have shown that they will have to contend with light and variable winds, along with sometimes strong currents. Douglas, along with most sailors, has been following a preparation strategy that includes losing weight to improve his light wind performance.

400 sailors will be competing in 11 classes at Qingdao, with Douglas competing in the Laser class, which will see 42 countries represented. The leading sailors in the Laser hail from Australia, Great Britain, New Zealand and Canada. The current world champion is Tom Slingsby of Australia who has dominated the class over the past two years.

Since arriving in Qingdao on July 28, Douglas has been training with his coach Luis Chiapparro, a two time Olympian for Uruguay, along with his training partners at the event, Alejandro Foglia of Uruguay and Thomas Barrows of the US Virgin Islands.

They are following a daily program of sailing at the competition location to acclimatise to local wind, wave and current conditions, as well as maintaining their physical training routines. Douglas is the youngest sailor in the Laser class. He began sailing at the age of eight years with the Barbados Sailing Associations sail training programme.

He has represented Barbados at two ISAF Youth World Championships and most recently at the 2008 Laser World Championships in Australia with the assistance of the Barbados Olympic Association.

He commented that, My training regime is going very well. I am very comfortable with these sailing conditions and the heat here in Qingdao. I am still at the stage in my career where I can make major improvements in results through the excellent experience I am gaining by sailing against the very best in the world. I am no longer intimidated by these older competitors.

Source – Barbados Advocate 

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