| Participants |
Of the eight ENP participants – Rockal Evans, Bermuda; Luis Mario Suarez Manso, Cuba; James Dagge, Hong Kong; Ahmad Ahmadi, Iran; Constantin Hatzilambros, Namibia; Tihomir Zakic, Serbia; Dave Shilton, South Africa; Andreas Lage, Venezuela – several have sailed Finns at an international level, some have sailed at a national level and a few are just starting in the class.
Here are a few of their stories.
James Dagge, 28, is a life long sailor, predominately in Lasers and Etchells, “But I am a big boat tactician now, so getting back into dinghies has been a good challenge and lots of fun.” He sailed his first Finn regatta in January 2018 in Australia, followed by the Europeans in Cadiz, Spain in March and has a full programme ahead as he tries to qualify for Tokyo 2020.
His day job is as an airline pilot with Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong and he trains out of the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club. He said, “The Olympic Games has always been the ultimate goal, nothing comes close in the pursuit of perfection. As for the Finn, no other boat lets the big boys compete at that level.”
Andres Lage, 26, from Venezuela, “The Olympic Games is my whole life dream, I wake up and go to sleep thinking about it. The reason of my switch to the Finn class is because I found it very attractive with the free pumping and the way it now is very physical.”
He sailed his first youth worlds in Aarhus in 2008, and then began training for the Rio 2016 Olympics. However political instability in Venezuela made it impossible to continue, so he stopped and moved to Spain and set up a sailing school.
To compensate for the lack of sailing competition he took up triathlons and Ironman contents. “I was hoping to do something very challenging (because it was the Olympic year and I had this feeling of not being in Rio that I needed to fulfil. So I signed up not to one Ironman, but two. I really enjoy sports, competition and improving myself”
Two years later the Olympic bug had bitten again.
“When I migrated to my grandparents country, Spain, my Olympic dream was almost over, and then I found ways to keep fighting for it once again, even knowing that was very hard to keep it up with no support from anywhere.”
“When I was young everybody would tell me that why I was so focussed on sailing if I wasn’t going to live by sailing, and then the turns of the life prove everyone who tells me that back then they weren’t wrong (including some of my family) and now they are super proud I am making my way through with the thing I love the most.”