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Young Sidcup sailors receive bursaries from RYA

PUBLISHED: 09:57 22 February 2016 | UPDATED: 09:57 22 February 2016

Sailing twins Liam and Niall Schiess, from Sidcup, with double Olympic medalist Ian Walker

Sailing twins Liam and Niall Schiess, from Sidcup, with double Olympic medalist Ian Walker

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Liam and Niall Schiess recognised for their nautical skills

Sailing twins, Liam and Niall Schiess, from Sidcup, have received the perfect kick-start to their new competitive season after being presented with performance bursaries from Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper and double Olympic medalist, Ian Walker.

The 14-year-old brothers, who sail at Chipstead Sailing Club near Sevenoaks, have once again received RYA South East Youth Training Fund bursaries in recognition of their achievements and potential, and to help fund their ongoing participation in events and training activities to develop their talent.

And they had the honour of receiving their grant awards from Chipstead SC club president Walker, who won silver medals at the Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Olympic Games before skippering Abu Dhabi to a historic 2014-15 Volvo Ocean Race victory.

Having also been awarded bursaries last year, the brothers proved their potential in the Topper one-person class, one of the junior classes sailing’s national governing body, the RYA, supports on the pathway to Olympic Classes sailing, throughout 2015.

Liam and Niall finished sixth and 10th respectively in the Topper at the National School Sailing Association (NSSA) Youth Regatta at Rutland in July, while they both trained as part of the RYA South East Topper Zone Squad training programme too.

Liam said: “The advice Ian gave us was to spend more time on the water sailing and practicing our sailing techniques. He also suggested we get as much experience as possible sailing different types of boats.

Niall continued: “The bursary last year enabled us to enter for Topper class Nationals qualifiers, which enabled us to improve our sailing as we were able to sail against other sailors of a higher standard than ourselves.”

Having completed all the Topper national series events last year, including the Topper National Championships, the boys are gearing up for another busy season including RYA Intermediate Squad training and attending Topper national selection events, with their eyes on achieving a place in the RYA National Junior Squad.

The twins, who were among nine sailors from Kent and Sussex receiving RYA bursaries, are also looking to improve their placings at this year’s NSSA Youth Regatta in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk in July.

Tony Rowe, RYA South East secretary, added: “It’s fantastic for young sailors to be able to experience a range of opportunities, both in the UK and internationally, during their development as they learn so much.

“But, like in any sport being pursued at a high level, the costs of travel, accommodation, food etc all quickly mount up. The RYA South East Youth Training Fund provides small bursaries every year to help all of our young talent in the South East get the same opportunities to realise their ambitions and achieve success in whatever their chosen path in the sport.”

In return for the RYA SE Youth Training Fund bursaries, the sailors are expected to return to their club or other regional events to assist with ongoing coaching and training, and to pass on their experiences and enthusiasm to help inspire others to follow in their footsteps.

For more information about sailing opportunities at Chipstead SC in Sevenoaks visit www.chipsteadsc.org.uk or to discover how to get into sailing across the South East visit www.rya.org.uk

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