Alex Halank’s Aussie title books spot for upcoming world youth championships and youth Olympics

ST Georges Basin’s Alex Halank continues to go from strength to strength on the water, after recently qualifying for the World Sailing Youth Championships at Corpus Christi, Texas, US in July.

 The 16-year-old gained this honour after becoming the Australian Sailing Youth Champion in windsurfing (Bic Techno 293 Plus class) at the 2018 Australian Sailing Youth Championships in Brisbane – retaining his title from Adelaide in 2017.

Held from January 11-15, the event included 10 races over four days.

“This will be my third year on the Australian Sailing Youth Team, having represented Australia in New Zealand in 2016 and China in 2017,” Halank said.

“This year’s nationals were particularly special as they were also the Oceanic region qualifying event for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games and I am really proud to have qualified to represent Australia in Buenos Aires in October.

“This is a really significant achievement for me, since it paved the way towards my most important goal, which is to represent Australia at the Youth Olympic Games.”

The Nowra Anglican College student has already started to rip into training – which includes six days a week of  gym, running, bike riding and windsurfing, as well as sessions with NSWIS – ahead of his massive year.

“It’s hard to verbalise my expectations for the year at the moment, since I can’t predict how the next nine months leading up to it will go,” Halank said.

“It will be a great honour just to be there and I hope I can look back on whatever the result is and say that I did my best.

“You have to at least imagine being on the podium, so you can focus and not give up when training is hard but the reality is that there can only be one winner and everyone going is at the top of their game.”

Halank, the flag bearer at China last year, is excited to test himself at his third youth world championships.

“I am really looking forward to improving my placing now that I am no longer going to be one of the youngest there,” he said.

“Since the Youth Worlds and the Youth Olympics are only three months apart, I have to incorporate the two events into the same schedule.

“Although they are both extremely important events in their own right, the Youth Olympics only happen once every four years and no one can compete in more than one in their lifetime.

“The Youth Worlds are going to be great practice ahead of the Youth Olympics.”

Windsurfing doesn’t have any funding in Australia and because distances here are so vast – it’s expensive to travel, meaning most training is done alone – vastly different to the leading nations who train in teams.

“I am a strong, highly-skilled windsurfer since I have been windsurfing since I was seven years old in many different windsurfing disciplines but racing involves a lot of strategy and tactics and you need to practice in a fleet,” he said.

“It would make a lot of difference if I could go up to Brisbane every fortnight and train with the national coach and the summer Olympic windsurfing team at the Windsurfing Centre of Excellence but I’ll do my best with whatever time we can manage to afford.”

Halank has a fundraising project with the Australian Sports Foundation and tax deductible donations can be made at: https://asf.org.au/athletes/alex-halank/

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