Three sailors are the first Australian athletes selected to compete at the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
As the Australian Olympic Committee announced today, Carissa Bridge, Mark Spearman and Thomas Vincent will compete at the Games, held in July this year, in the Laser and Laser Radial.
17-year-old Bridge’s sailing career includes claiming the Queensland Youth title in the Laser Radial class, last year. It’s a family affair for the Brisbane Year 12 student. Her mother Christine competed at the 1992 and 1996 Olympics in sailing.
“I was in and around boats before I could walk. The Pacific Games provides that great stepping stone to my dream goal of representing Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games,” she said.
“I’ve never represented Australia before so I’m excited to wear the green and gold colours and meet new people from other sports.”
For West Australian Mark Spearman, the Port Moresby Games represent another chance to don his country’s colours. The 20-year-old civil engineering student competed at the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympic Games in the Laser Radial class. He also won the 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds in the Laser Radial and is part of the Australian Sailing Youth Bridging program.
“The Youth Games was a really good experience because I got to be with a big team of athletes from all different sports. I can’t wait to get to Port Moresby and experience that again,” he said.
“I’m excited to meet people from the Pacific countries, where I’ve never been before. The location looks great and I can’t wait to get into competition.”
Australian Sailing Youth Team coach Brendan Todd (SA) has been nominated for selection as the group’s coach.
2015 Pacific Games Chef de Mission, Olympic gold medallist Malcolm Page, says he’s excited Australia will be sending a team to the Games for the first time.
“I think it’s going to be an amazing cultural experience for the Australian Team,” he said.
It is the first time Australia and New Zealand have been invited to compete at the Pacific Games. More than 40 Australians are set to participate in sailing, rugby sevens, weightlifting and taekwondo.
The Games run from 4-18 July, with more than 3000 athletes from 21 countries competing in 28 sports.
The first Games were held in 1963 in Suva, Fiji and are held every four years, with hosting rights shared across the South Pacific region. The Games will form an integral part of commemorations for Papua New Guinea as it celebrates its 40th year of independence.
For more information on the Pacific Games see: www.portmoresby2015.com
– Cora Zillich