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Annie Balasubramanian and Nathan Latka named top Canadian youth sailors for 2020-2021

by Sail Canada 10 Nov 2022 20:09 GMT
Annie Balasubramanian and Nathan Latka win Sail Canada's 2020-2021 Bill Burk Memorial Youth Elite Award, while Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance received the Marvin McDill Memorial Award © Sail Canada

Annie Balasubramanian and Nathan Latka were named Sail Canada's 2020-2021 Bill Burk Memorial Youth Elite Award winners as top youth sailors, while Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance received the Marvin McDill Memorial Award as Canadian Sailing Team Rookies of the Year for the same time period.

Balasubramanian and Latka, both from Toronto, won the 2020-2021 Bill Burk Memorial Youth Elite Award which recognizes sailors who are 18 years old and under and have shown a record of outstanding achievement in national and international youth competition, have brought recognition to Canadian competitive sailing, have set an example for other youth competitors through behaviour and manner, and have demonstrated leadership and sportsmanship.

Over the time period that exceptionally spanned two years due to the Covid pandemic, from January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021, both sailors represented Canada at the 2021 Youth World Sailing Championships in Oman in the ILCA 6 events.

Annie Balasubramanian: winner of Sail Canada's 2020-2021 Bill Burk Memorial Youth Elite Award

Annie Balasubramanian, who represents the Royal Canadian Yacht Club and Ontario Sailing Team, took 22nd place in the ILCA 6 women's competition at the 2021 Youth World Sailing Championships. She was also the top woman at the 2021 Sail Canada Youth Championships in ILCA 6 and the fourth female sailor at the 2021 Sail Canada Senior Championships in ILCA 6, in addition to finishing seventh overall, and first among women, at the 2020 Seahorse Youth Regatta at the Ashbridge's Bay Yacht Club.

"Thank you so much Sail Canada for this award," said Annie Balasubramanian. "The 2020-2021 sailing seasons were really tricky as Covid made it really hard to participate in any event. But I'm so grateful for the opportunities that I had, as well as for my coach, my teammates and all the people who have been pushing me to be my best. And I'm very thankful for my home club, RCYC, which has supported me throughout everything I have been doing. Thank you!"

Nathan Latka: winner of Sail Canada's 2020-2021 Bill Burk Memorial Youth Elite Award

On the men's side, Nathan Latka, representing the Ashbridge's Bay Yacht Club and the Ontario Sailing Team, was 24th overall at the 2021 Youth World Sailing Championships in the ILCA 6 men's event. He won the ILCA 6 competition at the 2021 Sail Canada Youth Championships and finished second overall at Sail Canada's Senior Championships that same year. In 2020, he also finished first in the ILCA 6 event at the Seahorse Youth Regatta held at the Ashbridge's Bay Yacht Club.

"I am extremely honoured to have won the Bill Burk Memorial Youth Elite Award," said Nathan Lafka. "These have been such amazing years and I am overjoyed that I have been recognized for my achievements."

"I want to thank Sail Canada and the countless people and organizations that have helped me to pursue my sailing dreams, including my parents Lucille and David, my coach Chris Hewson and all the other coaches who have helped me along the way, as well as Ashbridge's Bay Yacht Club and Ontario Sailing for their continued support. All of these people and organizations have allowed me to take part in the sport I love, which is something I can't ever thank them enough for. I hope to continue sailing and striving for excellence in the years to come."

More information on the Bill Burk Memorial Youth Elite Award is available here.

Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance: winners of Sail Canada's 2020-2021 Marvin McDill Memorial Award

Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance from Chester, N.S., who represent the Chester Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, received Sail Canada's 2020-2021 Marvin McDill Memorial Award as Canadian Sailing Team Rookies of the Year during the time period of January 1, 2020, to December 31, 2021.

The Marvin McDill Award is presented to an athlete or a crew that have achieved the best results at their first Open World Championships as members of the Canadian Sailing Team. The determination of best performance is based on the percentage of boats finishing behind the athlete or crew at their first participation as a member of the Canadian Sailing Team in an Open World Championship.

During the time period for the 2020-2021 award, Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance won the bronze medal at the 2021 49erFX European Championships held in Greece and then took 6th place at the 2021 49erFX World Championships held in Oman, where they posted the best Canadian performance ever at this competition that has been held since 2013, and improving on the 39th spot they registered at the 2020 edition. The recent winners of Sail Canada's 2022 Rolex Sailors of the Year Award also won Sail Canada's 2021 49erFX Canadian Senior Championship.

"Last year was our first time on the full circuit and it had its fair share of triumphs and chaos, and it ended with a medal race that bumped us down to the 6th position at the 49erFX World Championships," remembered the Lewin-LaFrance sisters. "It left this rookie team feeling very hungry for more, and we're still hungry for it today! Thank you, Sail Canada!"

More information on the Marvin McDill Memorial Award is available here.

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