On a wet and windy day in May, Nethra from Chennai, India is preparing herself to begin the day’s sailing session in Egaa Sailing Club in Aarhus, Denmark. The weather is in sharp contrast to what she’s used to in Chennai, but the chances to train under unique wind conditions with other sailors overshadows the cold weather.
The spirit is high and Nethra feels lucky to participate in the emerging nation program (ENP), which is offered, in connection to the Aarhus 2018 Sailing World Championships (SWC), to sailors from countries where there are little resources to support the training facilities for the sailors.
Nethra started sailing back in 2012, when she participated in a sailing summer camp for the first time back in India. She got into sailing from the very first boat ride and then she has been sailing ever since with sailing sessions every day.
With the small sailing environment in India, Nethra finds it difficult to challenge herself enough and improve her skills. Therefore, she’s excited to be invited to the ENP camps to improve her sailing before the 2018 SWC in Aarhus next summer. And in the end, be a step closer to her dream of qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Testing the unique wind conditions on the Bay of Aarhus
For Nethra it’s a huge opportunity to be able to come to Aarhus before the 2018 SWC to test the waters and to get familiar with the unique wind conditions that characterize the Bay of Aarhus. If it wasn’t for the ENP she would not have had the resources to come to Aarhus before the championships in 2018. And when preparing for such an important race it’s often very helpful to have tested the waters in advance.
Nethra explains: "The waves in the bay are very different from day to day and it challenges my technique. We have experienced southeasterly fresh wind with big waves and westerly wind creating short choppy waves that requires a lot of effort managing the boat. So mentally and physically I’m very pleased to test the waters and get familiar with the winds, the waves and the stream before the 2018 SWC". Also she’s excited to be in Aarhus to experience the vibrant sailing culture with a lot of sailing activity on the bay. This is a big contrast to Chennai, where there’s very little sailing activity.
Better as a team
Besides giving the sailors an insight to the bay of Aarhus, the ENP camps also aim at improving the sailors’ techniques. Denmark has proven to be unique in the way of challenging the sailors with fast improvements. The so called "Danish model" is organizing sailing sessions in teams where the sailors cooperate and share their knowledge and use the positive energy that arises from the teamwork.
This approach has proven to be extremely successful and has helped various sailing clubs as well as Anne Marie Rindom, the Danish Olympic Bronze medalist, greatly to challenge and improve their sailing skills.
"When training in a group, I can compare and see how I can improve and adjust, plus it’s very motivating to work together and help each other. I’m used to training in a closed sailing environment with only my coach and me. At this ENP camp in Aarhus I’m able to improve a lot faster because of the involvement from both coaches and the other sailors," Nethra says.
The ENP is arranged as corporation between World Sailing and the Aarhus 2018 Sailing World Championships organization. The ENP camps are purposed to help upcoming sailors achieve better chances of qualifying for the Olympics and to pursue a career in sailing. In the upcoming ENP camps, the sailors will also be training with athletes from the Danish National Sailing Team and learn from their experiences.
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