Excited youth sailor prepares for China world titles

by Sunshine Coast Daily - Tracey Johnston

Youth sailboarder Hailey Lea has just over three weeks to go before she heads to Sanya, China, for the biggest event of her young life.

Hailey, 16, is one of 14 Australian youth team sailors competing in the 2017 Youth World Championships which will run from December 9 to 16.

Behind the Lake Cootharaba Sailing Club youth sailor is an injury to her foot, incurred while competing in September's Queensland Youth Championships in Yeppoon.

"I opened up the side of my foot on my fin,” Hailey said.

"I kept racing with it for the next three days and then did the NSW championship.

"It sort of didn't heal up very well so it became a bit long-lasting.”

She then took just over a week off her RS:X training board. "The foot is now fully recovered, but I have come down with a cold,” the chirpy teenager said.

Ahead of the Mountain Creek State High School student are two more weeks of school work and an exam block, gym strength work three times a week, on-water training off Mooloolaba with her coach Rob Lea and one more major Australian regatta.

While the experts are talking pleasant racing conditions in Sanya, averaging about 12 knots, Hailey isn't taking any chances. She has added plenty of weighted activities into her gym program, which has been designed by her Queensland Academy of Sport strength and conditioning coach.

Hailey heads to Sail Melbourne at the end of the month. This is her final chance for race training before she and her fellow team members travel to China.

"I don't think it's quite hit me. I am every excited, but I don't think the full force of it will probably hit me until I am standing in the airport about to get on the plane,” Hailey said. "It's one thing to do all the preparation and say I am going. It's another thing to actually do it.”

All going well, the China event will be the start of Hailey's journey towards more international events and even an Olympic Games.


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