By Carlena Knight
Tyrique Adams, Theodore Spencer, Shanoy Malone, Maurice Belgrave Jr. and Sue Agusti will fly the flag of Antigua and Barbuda at the World Optimist Championships, scheduled to sail off on Saturday here in Antigua.
The five youths, all under the age of 16, will face tough competition by junior athletes from around the world.
The athletes, who all qualified for the event, were announced to the public on Monday during the event’s media launch at the Copper and Lumber restaurant in English Harbor.
Despite it being the first time that a few members of the team will compete in an event like this, their coach Rohan Kirby is confident that they will do well.
“The chances are very big; you don’t know what could happen. At the moment we have been training against guys that were top in the last world championships and basically the conditions are different. We’ve done the South Americans [championships] in Chile in April and it being the first time in cold water, but coming here now into our own waters and that’s good.
“For these guys it’s the first time some of them are coming to the Caribbean and I think the chances are big for our team,” said Kirby.
Kirby also spoke about the positive impact an international event like this will have on the country.
“The impact I think is a big impact. I think for sailors, they get lots of spectators and an audience. It brings a lot of tourists and a lot of people to the country.”
Antigua and Barbuda created history as being only the second Caribbean country to host the World Optimist Championships after winning the bid in Thailand in 2017.
The event will run from July 6th- July 16th with a record-breaking 250 participants from 65 countries competing from across the world.
A large cultural parade on July 7th from Falmouth to Nelsons Dockyard will officially open the championships.
Members of the public wanting to get up close to the race action can book a spot on Wadadli Cats, the official spectators’ boat.
There are also several excellent land-based viewing points, including Nelson’s Dockyard, Fort Berkeley, Fort Charlotte, and the headlands around Shirley Heights.