It was mission accomplished for Rut Gouws in Dakhla, Morocco, as the 14-year-old from Stilbaai powered her way to first place at the Youth Olympic Games kiteboarding qualifier.
That puts Gouws in line to be selected as part of Team South Africa at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October this year.
Gouws put in a fantastic performance, winning 10 of her 12 races to finish as the undisputed champion.
“I’m feeling super blessed to be the African TT:R under-18 champion. It would be such an honour to have the opportunity to represent SA at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires,” said Gouws. “All honour and glory to God in heaven who kept me safe and sound and gave me the ability.
“A huge thanks to South African Sailing and the SA Kitesurfing Association for all the support and for the sponsorship to get me where I have to be. Also a massive shout out to Eric Groenewoud, Airush and Mystic for the best possible gear – I couldn’t have done it without them.
“Then also my poor parents – thanks to them for always running up and down the beach to make sure I have what I need to do the best I can,” she added.
Not quite as fortunate, Gouws’s teammate Terje Groenewoud couldn’t quite secure that all-important top spot. He did exceptionally well in a hotly contested competition to reach the podium, however, finishing in third, with Morocco’s Jonas Ouamid making the most of home conditions to take top spot.
Groenewoud will have one last chance to reach the Youth Olympic Games with one final qualifying event in Hainan, China in May.
“A massive congratulations to Rut and Terje for their excellent results in Morocco in this fast growing discipline of sailing in South Africa,” said SA Sailing Vice President Peter Hall.
“The competition was extremely tough and these two youngsters have done South African sailing proud with their remarkable results. We look forward to what they will go on to achieve in the future,” added Hall.