Melbourne, Australia: India’s Ajay Rau is all set to rub shoulders with the sailing greats at the opening round of the 2010/11 ISAF World Cup -Sail Melbourne. From the 12th to 18th of December, 350 sailors from 42 countries will descend upon Sandringham Yacht Club for the ISAF grade 1- Asia Pacific Regatta.
Ben Ainslie (triple Olympic gold & silver medalist and Britain’s most successful Olympic sailor of all time), Malcolm Page (Olympic gold medalist and 4 time World Champion) and Tom Slingsby (three time World Champion) are among the world class athletes entered for this regatta. Ajay along with 62 elite international sailors have entered the Olympic laser class category. He is the only Indian participating in the event.
This is the Indian sailor’s fourth appearance at the Sail Melbourne event. In 2008, Ajay had placed 8th overall in the men’s Radial Class. It will be a whole different game racing in the Olympic class where anything is possible.
Four time Olympian and former World ranked 15th laser standard sailor Allan paul Julie (Seychelles) has teamed up with Ajay Rau in a quest to help him become the first Indian to qualify for an Olympic Games in Laser sailing.
“ I have been on the international circuit for 5 years and it is wonderful to be able to work with such an accomplished sailor. He believes, I will be able to make it to the 2012 Olympic games and this means a lot when Olympic Qualifications are just one year away. Sponsors, close friends and family have been very encouraging and supportive during hard times. It not easy competing in a sport where the level is as high as Soccer and tennis”, the 22-year-old Indian sailor explains.
Allan Julie has previously been Ajay’s training partner on the European circuit and has coached him on two occasions helping Ajay achieve India’s best result of 15th at the 2009 Men’s World Championship and 2nd at the 2010 Indian team selections.