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Ratulu's dream as a sailor begins

Rashneel Kumar
Saturday, June 07, 2014

FOURTEEN-year-old Viliame Ratulu is keen to build his own dynasty in the sport he fell in love with three years ago.

Today he sets out on his first journey to what he hopes will become the stepping stone to unlimited success in sailing.

Ratulu alongside Robert Hazelman, 21, and Naomi Tupou, 17, will represent Fiji at the Oceania Sailing competition in Noumea, New Caledonia from June 7 to 10.

This will be the first overseas trip for the Year 9 student of Savusavu Secondary School.

"I'm really excited with this opportunity and looking forward to this competition. This is my first time representing Fiji and I will do my best," said the nippy Ratulu who hails from Nukubalavu.

"I started sailing three years ago. I'm the only one in my family who takes part in this sport and I hope to inspire others through my performance."

Tupou, who is a Year 12 student at Savusavu Secondary, will also make her debut in the national colours.

Unlike Ratulu, she has a bit of experience in competing against notable local sailors and she hopes it will help her in the competition.

"I started sailing in 2011 and have been competing regularly. I don't know what to expect in the competition but I'm looking forward to the challenge," said Tupou who aspires to be a naval officer.

Team leader Hazelman is the most experienced of the three having competed in a number of regional events including the Pacific Games and the Pacific Mini Games.

He will be using the competition to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

"The aim is to win gold and also to prepare for next year's Pacific Games. I'm also working on qualifying for the Rio Olympics," said Hazelman who will be competing in the laser standard event.

More than 120 sailors from Fiji, Wallis and Futuna, Australia, New-Zealand and New Caledonia will be participating in the competition.

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