Shrinking field for Youth Sailing Worlds
Published on July 13th, 2021
Due to international travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the cancellation of World Championships in 2020 was the norm, so it was no shocker when World Sailing cancelled the 2020 edition of the Youth Sailing World Championships that was to be held December 12-19 in Salvador, Brazil.
While the pandemic continues to throw shade on the planet in 2021, travel has mostly returned to allow for World titles to be contested, though participation still remains a challenge for some countries.
After Australia and New Zealand were early models for tackling the coronavirus, they remain in the throes of its grasp, and both have opted out of sending national teams to the 2021 Youth Sailing Worlds to be held December 11-18 at Mussanah Sports City, Oman. Here are updates:
AUSTRALIA: The uncertainty created by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, border closures and the health and wellbeing of the athletes were identified as key considerations and criteria for not sending a team this year. Like many other sports across the country, Australian Sailing has had to adapt and modify its international competition plans, particularly for youth or under age teams. Without this international competition opportunity AS will be focusing its efforts on a comprehensive slate of State Youth Sail events domestically in 2021.
NEW ZEALAND: The decision to forgo the youth worlds is based on the risks associated with sending a team to the event, due to be held in Oman, as well as the current managed isolation requirements on return and the health and wellbeing of sailors and coaches. It’s a stance other countries have already taken, and World Sailing has indicated they expect only half of the normal number of attendees at the regatta.
“The Government recommend that people don’t travel internationally and that, together with MIQ (managed isolation and quarantine) requirements, which would have been both expensive and over Christmas, has influenced our decision to not attend the event,” said Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie.
“We know there will be a number of people who will be disappointed by this decision, especially those who are in their last year at youth level, but we wanted to give people certainty so they can plan their season ahead.”