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Kendall: Why I Took Up Sailing

Former New Zealand boardsailor Barbara Kendall started sailing at the age of 12. Speaking during the Fiji Sports Hall of Fame and Fiji Olympic Order dinner night at the Sofitel
02 Apr 2017 10:59
Kendall: Why I Took Up Sailing
QINGDAO, CHINA - AUGUST 20: Barbara Kendall of New Zealand competes in the Women's RS:X class medal race held at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center during day 12 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 20, 2008 in Qingdao, China. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Former New Zealand boardsailor Barbara Kendall started sailing at the age of 12.

Speaking during the Fiji Sports Hall of Fame and Fiji Olympic Order dinner night at the Sofitel Resort and Spa on Friday, Kendall shared one of her favourite stories to the audiences.

“It was 1976 I was still 10-years-old I was sailing with my brother and my sister,” she said.

“We were coming back from Fiji and were hit by a storm and we were lost but at least we were together.

“My brother and my sister ended up sailing the boat home using a transitor radio but we found our way to New Zealand.

“This pushed my mum and dad to bring the boat out of the waters and put it on our front lawn for eight years as they didn’t like sailing.”

Two years later Kendall persevered on in sailing as she felt that she was made for the sport.

“When I was 12-years-old I jumped into a little boat which we called P-Class and I just took it from there.

“The moment I jumped into that boat I knew how I can make this boat go really fast and with months I was beating all the boys in our sailing club.

“The boys did not like it but I loved it.

“Those were great times on how you spent your teenage years and play all the sports in school. I knew my love was in sailing.

“From that moment I really wanted to go overseas and see the world and compete competitively.”

Now that the Oceania Sailing Federation will be setting-up the Oceania Sailing Education Academy in Suva, Kendall believes it’s a great opportunity to get young sailors to love our Pacific Ocean more.

“It is fantastic to get these young sailors to enjoy our ocean and get more people to be aware on how wonderful our ocean is and to have it centralised in Fiji is fantastic. Engaging our young sailors with their academic studies will set values and knowledge,” she added.

Kendall is the chairperson of the Oceania Athletes Commission and International Olympic Committee member from New Zealand.

She competed at five Summer Olympic Games and won a gold, silver and bronze medal.

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