Sailing Challenge for Chiswick Schoolboy This Christmas

Ollie Cooper takes another step towards his goal of competing at Olympics

Ollie Cooper (right) with his crew, James Poyner

Ollie Cooper enjoying great season sailing his two hander

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Sports in Chiswick

Aspiring Olympic sailor and Chiswick schoolboy, Ollie Cooper, takes another step towards his goal of competing at an Olympic Games when he flies to Argentina on Boxing Day to represent Great Britain at the 2011 World Championships in the 29er Youth Dinghy Class.

Ollie will travel out with the British Team to Mar del Plata, for the event, where he will compete with his crew, James Poyner from Emsworth, Hants, against over 120 other youth sailors from across the world.

Ollie (17) has been rapidly progressing up the ladder of the Royal Yachting Association Junior and Youth sailing programme, having started in the Junior Optimist Class. He then raced both a Laser 4.7, and an RS Feva, culminating in him winning the 2009 European RS Feva European Championships before he moved into the 29er Class.

This is the youth boat regarded as the stepping stone to the Olympic 49er Class in which Great Britain has a great history of success. “Sadly 2012 is too soon for me, as sailors are generally at their best in their mid twenties”, says Ollie, “but I’ll certainly be following the sailing events in Weymouth, where I regularly train, and where hopefully Great Britain can repeat its sailing successes of the last three games, where we were the top medal winners”.

Prior to Argentina, Ollie has another challenge, as he is one of a select few youth sports people invited to attend the 2010 National Talent Orientation Camp organised by the Youth Sports Trust (YST). This 4 day event takes place at Loughborough University in the week before Christmas and will be attended by the cream of the country’s top young sporting talent from across many other sports including canoeing, cycling, hockey, netball, rowing, rugby union and wheelchair basketball; the sailors will get expert advice and guidance from a host of former Olympic, Paralympic, World and European champions, including particularly current Olympic Laser champion Paul Goodison.

An initiative of the YST, these camps are aimed at preparing young athletes for the personal, sporting, academic and vocational challenges that lie ahead of them beyond school. The first NTOC was staged in 2007 and each year since has grown on its initial success attracting more and more athletes and national attention.

Ollie, who attends Hampton School, has represented Great Britain on numerous occasions at overseas events, but never yet at a World Championships - ”Its certainly a great opportunity to race against the best young sailors from across the world, and I’m really looking forward to meeting up with old friends that I’ve met in the past, making new friends and racing against them at a World Championship”.

December 18, 2010