Gabrielle King competing on the Clarence River. The teen is off to the World Youth Championships in England. Photo: Keiran Sear
Gabrielle King competing on the Clarence River. The teen is off to the World Youth Championships in England. Photo: Keiran Sear

Calm and cool ? on the outside

By ADRIAN MILLER

amiller@dailyexaminer.com.au

YOU WOULD probably expect any 15-year-old picked to represent their country to be jumping for joy and over the moon with excitement.

While you would expect them to think about the task at hand, you probably wouldn't consider their first reaction to be how much preparation they had to do to be ready for competition.

But that's exactly what sailor and Mororo resident Gabrielle King did when selected to represent Australia at the ISAF World Youth Championships in England in July.

Showing maturity beyond her years and a steely determination which no doubt proved decisive in her selection, King's first reaction to the news was to increase her training.

It wasn't that she wasn't overjoyed at being picked ? she was ecstatic in fact ? King just realised how much work was involved for her to succeed.

"Initially, when I was told, it was brief excitement, but then I had to knuckle down and start preparing," she said.

"I've had to do a lot of fitness work, skills development, tactical work, speed work and a lot of racing.

"There's been a lot of trips to Sydney, I go to Brisbane on my spare weekends because they have a bigger fleet than we do, and it takes up a lot of extra time.

"But now that it's getting really close I'm starting to get a bit nervous."

The Maclean High School student will compete in the Women's One Person Dinghy ? Laser Radial class, and will be the only Australian woman to race individually at the Championships.

She will join competitors from 42 countries at the biggest Youth World Champs ever held, which begin in Weymouth in mid-July.

King will compete in a 12-race series over a seven-day period.

"They say this Youth World Championships is basically the closest thing to the Olympics from a youth point of view," King said.

While she's never competed at international level, King has every reason to feel confident.

The Big River Sailing Club junior member won this year's laser radial Australian Youth, Victorian, Queensland and NSW championships, while she finished second in the Australian National championships.

But even after all that success King is unsure how she'll fare in England.

"I've practised as well as I can, but I really have no idea what to expect," she said.

"I've never sailed against any of these people before, so I'm just going to have to see where I stand."



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