Fifteen-year-old Thad Lettsome will be representing the British Virgin Islands next week in the 47th Youth Sailing World Championships in Sanya, China.
The Youth Sailing World Championship is said to be the pinnacle event in the youth racing calendar and, over the years, a long list of sailing legends including Sir Ben Ainslie and Russell Coutts have won medals and emerged onto the international stage.
Almost 400 competitors from 62 nations will race across nine classes and with just one spot available to each country in each class, competition even to get selected is fierce, a release from the Royal BVI Yacht Club said.
Lettsome will be sailing in the boys Laser Radial Class against 51 other competitors.
The event kicked off with an opening ceremony yesterday and racing is scheduled to start at 11 am today and will conclude on Friday.
Mother of Lettsome, Lisa Penn-Lettsome who spoke to BVI News said it is important for her son to attend because it is one of the world’s recognized regattas.
“He is on an Olympic track. Although he is a youth, going to these events that former Olympians would have gone to and these are the kinds of events that you would go to if you plan to train for the Olympics,” she said.
“It is a very proud moment because as you can imagine it is a lot of investments that is gone into it. This event has culminated to him going on average about four international events every year, so it’s quite a heavy investment. Because while the events don’t cost a lot to enter we do have to pay to get to the destination where he will be sailing.”
Lettsome has competed in Italy, Uruguay, Canada, and Maimi.
“It’s good to see that it’s all paying off to the point where he is usually one of the youngest competitors in these international regattas. He does quite well. It is a satisfying feeling,” Penn-Lettsome remarked.
He has been part of the sport since age 9.
Awarded a scholarship
In August this year, young Lettsome attended a training camp in the Dominican Republic organized by World Sailing, which is the world governing body for the sport.
He received a scholarship and top-level coaching to attend the competition in China based on his sailing skills, attitude, motivation, fitness, and preparation.
He left his Tabor Academy in Marion, Massachusetts, boarding school on the 4th of December with his coach Chris Watters to attend a pre-regatta training programme, also part of the scholarship package.
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