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The Magic Road to Rio: Dutch 49er FX Team Nina and Claire

by Fettje Osinga, Magic Marine 27 Nov 2014 11:56 GMT 27 November 2014
Nina Keijzer and Claire Blom in Abu Dhabi © Magic Marine

Nina Keijzer and Claire Blom are fighting to qualify for the Dutch Olympic trials for the single Olympic slot in the 49er FX class. These two ladies have been part of the Dutch Olympic Sailing Team, but as of now the partnership has ended and Magic Marine has stepped up to support this team in their action to take full control of their own program in order to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Pressure

For sure the pressure is on. The Dutch 49er FX qualification is the first of all classes. The team with the highest average score in the World Cup in Miami and Palma will win the spot. "We wouldn't have started this campaign if we weren't convinced that we have what it takes to pull it off," said Claire from the hotel lobby in Abu Dhabi, where the opening ceremony for the final 2014 World Cup has taken place.

From stress to focus

"At first it was quite stressful to make this step," commented Nina. "All of a sudden you are not only a sailor but you are wearing all caps: the logistics and budget manager, defining the team process, etc. You have to make the right decisions all by yourself." With the help of Magic Marine, several International 49er teams and the new coach Francisco de Andrade (POR) it feels that everything is settling down. "We can actually focus on the things that we think are the best for our performance. It is our campaign, we can focus now on what we have to do, winning at the Miami event and at the Palma World Cup."

Determination

Nina and Claire have had a lot to chew on during the past year. Not only the illness of Nina (mono), but all the changes within the programme have given them a rough preparation on the qualifying events. These girls never give up and will keep on fighting. The girls have shown their talents at the ISAF Worlds with a 13th place finish and together with taking this step, it proves the determination to get to Rio.

Heroes

Instead of a training camp abroad, the team trained at their local Club on home waters in Holland at the WV Braassemermeer in order to prepare for the next event. "It was amazing to help the youth sailors from our club with tips and tricks and to answer all their questions. We realised that we might actually be their heroes, we can inspire those kids to continue racing'. That's exactly why the main sponsor, Magic Marine, has become involved. This is to make sure that the kids have their heroes in our sport, inspire them, and they will always be a sailor."

Magic Marine owner and CEO, Max Blom Sr. comments:

"We sponsor in other situations the close relatives to those who support the brand. They are capable of true product testing and are 100% ambassadors, giving us the sometimes confronting comments we need in order to create the best possible products Champions need."

"Next to sailors such as Mischa Heemskerk (Cats) and Nicolas Heiner (Laser) we now have another great (49er FX) team to support us, in this case creating the best skiff wear ever."

"But next to the commercial interest we see a team that had to fight a huge battle to keep on following their dreams, we like that attitude and are glad to have become part of that fighting spirit."

"I also must say that it is a shame that the qualifications are already in the early month of 2015.The Class is very new to us all, and I would have preferred to have seen a longer battle between the two potential teams, it would have created a better Dutch level at the 2016 Olympics"

"Besides this argument accidents can happen overnight and this early qualification, 16 month before the Games, is therefore a very risky Federation choice."

World Cup Abu Dhabi

The team is currently in Abu Dhabi, where the final ISAF World Cup is about to start. 'Off course we want to win, but for now it's important to focus on our technical skills and communication on board. That's what we've been training on and it's important to check if we indeed making the progress we want," commented Claire.

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