AFTER a strong start to the Youth Olympic Games, in Buenos Aires, St Georges Basin’s Alex Halank has continued his strong performance on the water.
On day four, the Nowra Anglican College windsurfer managed to climb into 15th in the rankings at the end of the day, while team mate Hailey Lea is in 20th place with three races to go.
Halank backed in up on day five, by placing 13th in race 10, 11th in race 11 and 13th in race 12, on a windy day at Club Nautico san Isidro.
“The Youth Olympic Games has been one of my lifelong goals and I am so grateful that Australian Sailing nominated me – it’s even more special because I’m Australia’s first ever male windsurfing Youth Olympian,” Halank said.
“I’ve earned a place on the Australian Youth Sailing Team for the last three years but qualifying for the Youth Olympic Games was something I was really aspiring to and glad I achieved.”
During his time at the YOG, Halank has faced competition form the world’s best – who are primarily from the northern hemisphere, where athlete have access to more on-water training.
“The kids who live in the northern hemisphere have had summer holidays and so they have been able to train a lot more than we have,” Halank said.
“To combat this advantage, at home when I get home from school at 4:15pm, I have my sail already rigged and get straight out on the water whenever there is enough wind but the weather does not always cooperate and consequently most of my windsurfing is done on the weekend.”
Fortunately for Halank, he’s clocked up a well-stamped passport travelling the world to compete, with the World Youth Championships being his most recent event.
“I have been a part of the Australian Sailing Youth Team for three years and represented Australia in three Youth Sailing Worlds, which gave me lots of practice with starts and big fleet racing which is something we can’t get in Australia,” he said.
Halank forms one part of the five-strong Aussie YOG sailing squad, including fellow windsurfer Hailey Lea, mixed Nacra 15 pair of Will Cooley and Evie Haseldine, and Mani Bisschops, who has been representing Australia in kiteboarding.