Malta49er: Intensive training underway in Palma to qualify Malta for the 2012 Olympics

Friday, February 24, 2012, 10:09

The Malta49er team, Benji Borg and Seb Ripard have left Malta for Palma, Majorca for the next few weeks to undertake intensive training and sparring with other national 49er teams prior to the Olym-pic qualifiers in Croatia in May. Following an injury sustained to Borg’s knee whilst competing in Italy last year, the winter was spent getting Borg rested and then back on form again, training in Malta with their coaches: German ex-national team coach KoljaVolkers, and ex-Olympian, Max Groy.

The ISAF 49er World Championship in Zadar, Croatia presents the two young sailors with their chance to qualify for and represent Malta in the 49er sailing class at the 2012 Olympic Games. Unfortunately, the pair missed the first Olympic qualification event in Perth, Australia in December: Due to Borg’s in-jury, they were forced to pull out of the event.

Now back at peak fitness levels, Malta49er are making the most of their time in Palma where several other national teams are basing themselves for the rest of the winter. Teams who have already qualified for London, such as the Danes, Germans, Polish and Swedes will be in Palma alongside Seb and Benji, as well as teams from Italy, Canada, Belgium, Chile and Bermuda who will be head to head with them on the starting line in Croatia battling it out for a place at the Olympics. There are 5 national places left, after 15 nations secured their entry in Australia.

The programme in Palma concentrates on high intensity boat handling and speed techniques with both coaches, and training with the German, Belgian, Danish and Swedish teams. In early March, they are scheduled to undertake two-boat training with the Germans as sparring partners, and mid-March sees them competing in a test regatta, where they’ll find out for the first time in 2012 where they lie in the pecking order.

Still in Palma 3-8 April, they will be competing in the Trofeo S.A.R. Princess Sofia Regatta against the best with many nations, utilizing the regatta as trial event for their Olympic teams. This is the final race prior to the 49er World Championship Olympic Qualifiers that will take place between 6th and 13th of May in Croatia.

Although Malta is a small nation aiming to compete with the big-guns in the sailing world, Malta49er Coach, KoljaVolkers is confident that Seb and Benji can achieve their immediate goal and be the first sailors ever to qualify to represent Malta at The Olympic Games.

The Malta 49er Olympic Campaign has been facilitated by EC English Language Centres; Cisk Excel, Malta’s first low carbohydrate beer; The Creative Partners; Kurt Arrigo; Bodyworks; Malta Sailing Federation. Malta International Airport plc supports the training programme.

About Malta49er

Malta49er are Sebastian Ripard and Benji Borg; two young Maltese sailors with the dream of com-peting at the Olympics in 2012, and subsequently winning a medal in 2016. Both have been sailing from an early age; starting in the Optimist class.

The 49er is a skiff dinghy and is the fastest sailing class at The Olympic Games.

Malta 49er are attempting to be the first ever Maltese sailors to qualify for the Olympic Games.

For more information about Malta49er, please visit

Press contacts for Malta49er

Hilary Rogers and Johanna Holmes at The Creative Partners. Telephone office: (+356) 2741 4100 Mobile: (+356) 9903 7345 Email:;

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