New Zealand boardsailors Max van der Zalm and Veerle ten Have are one step closer to their goal of competing at this year's Youth Olympics in Argentina after winning this week's Oceania championships in Brisbane.
The pair won the boy's and girl's divisions at the Brisbane regatta, qualifying the class for New Zealand in the process. Their selection now needs to be ratified by the New Zealand Olympic Committee.
Van der Zalm dominated the Bic Techno Plus class, winning eight of the 10 races to finish six points clear of his nearest rival, Alex Halank from Australia. Ten Have's margin of victory was even bigger, with the Tauranga sailor finishing 28 points ahead of Hailey Lea and third overall in the combined fleet.
"The Youth Olympics is one of my main goals, to participate and do well, so this is one step towards that," van der Zalm said.
The pair also have their sights set on being part of the NZL Sailing Foundation youth team to compete at July's youth sailing world championships in the US. They were both at the last youth worlds in China, with van der Zalm finishing 10th in the boy's RS:X in his first major international regatta and ten Have 15th in the girl's RS:X.
The Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta at Murrays Bay on February 3-5 serves as a nomination regatta for the youth sailing world championships.
Both van der Zalm and ten Have will then compete at the RS:X and Techno national championships on their home waters in Tauranga before heading overseas for a handful of regattas.
They have been receiving some coaching from the likes of former Olympic champions Bruce Kendall and Tom Ashley and former national champion Kate Ellingham.
Results and standings from the 2018 Australian youth championships in Brisbane:
Bic Techno Plus Class
1st: Max van der Zalm (NZL) 1 1 1 1 1 (2) 1 (2) 1 1 - 8 points
2nd: Alex Halank (AUS) (2) 2 2 2 2 1 2 1 (6) 2 - 14 pts
3rd: Veerle ten Have (NZL) 4.0 (12 UFD) 3 3 3 3 3 (6) 2 3 - 24 pts