SPORTS

Our Sailor To Tokyo- Morgan Tells Of Olympic Preps, Hoping To Do Fiji Proud

The 17-year-old’s qualification had been a proud moment for the Fiji Yachting Association. She now joins the Team Fiji men’s and women’s rugby sevens teams to the Tokyo Olympics.
20 Feb 2021 15:10
Our Sailor To Tokyo- Morgan Tells Of Olympic Preps, Hoping To Do Fiji Proud
Sophia Morgan representing Fiji in one of the earlier competitions. She has now booked a spot in the Tokyo Olympic Games in Japan. Photo: Supplied

To participate in the Olympic Games is the dream of every athlete around the world.

These were the words of sailor Sophia Morgan who qualified on merit to represent Fiji at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan from July 23 to August 8.

The 17-year-old’s qualification had been a proud moment for the Fiji Yachting Association. She now joins the Team Fiji men’s and women’s rugby sevens teams to the Tokyo Olympics.

Speaking to SUNsports, Morgan said participating at the Olympics would be special for her.

“At times participating in the Olympic Games is all I can think of,” Morgan said.

“Then I get a reality check from my family and I’ve to dry the dishes or do some chores. Making it to the Olympics was a dream come true and I’ll be up there competing with sailors who I have idolised since childhood.

“It is such a massive event and an honour to represent my country to the Olympics this year. I hope Fiji gets the recognition it deserves with this sport.

“Being able to participate at the Tokyo Olympics is not only been a big deal for me, but also for my family too as they form an important part of my team and I know I can rely on them.”

However, Morgan said there were many people working behind the scenes in Fiji, that enabled athletes like her to get over the line.

“Their support is vital to what we are able to achieve,” she added.

Preparations

Morgan said despite the COVID-19 pandemic, her preparations had been going well.

“In delaying the Olympic Games for a year, I’ve had more time to get on the water and be much fitter. Since I was told about my qualification, I’ve increased my hours on the water in order to improve my skills and learn as much as I can.

“I’ve also been doing a lot more exercise on land in order to improve my strength and endurance which will help me during my races.

“Coaching has also been stepped-up big time and we have engaged some ex-Olympians who I have a regular one-on-one coaching sessions with. It has also been nerve wrecking since this is my first ever Olympics.”

Morgan said being quite young, she has been in different situations and experiencing new things altogether.

“This can be quite exciting as I’m always up for a challenge but it can cause some anxiety because I’m not sure if I’m doing things right half the time,” he said.

“On my preparations for the Olympics, I’ve seen a lot of progress mentality and physicality.

“This is due to the hours on the water which has helped me grow my confidence and increase my skills, which helps me do better in races.

“It has also aided in creating my routine which has been very beneficial when it comes to participating in regattas.

“Hours on the water and extensive training on land has also helped me become the strongest and fittest I’ve ever been.”

Growing up 

Morgan said sailing had been part of her life since she was growing up in Lami.

“I first learnt to sail when I was about eight years old in Draunibota Bay, which was a short walk from our home at the top of Uduya Point,” she recalled.

“I joined the Royal Suva Yacht Club where I was coached by Eddie Stevens, Patricia Evers and Peter Ovendon.

“From there I trained a lot in the Suva harbour and went on to race at Suva Point.

“My dad introduced me to sailing.
“He used to sail at the RSYC when he was a child too. I’ve always been very athletic and have loved the sea from a young age.

“We were fortunate to spend a lot of time around the islands of Taveuni, Leleuvia and Kadavu.

“Being surround by water so much of the time- sailing just seemed the natural thing to do.”

These humble beginnings, inspired her to represent Fiji.

“Being able to represent the country where I was born and grew up in was and still a major honour. Especially when I’m able to do so in a sport that I love.

“Sailing itself is a very unique sport when compared to others.

“It’s a very technical, physical and a mental sport that involves a lot of strength and endurance in order to win a race.

“What makes it unique is that each race and training session is always different to the last, as conditions are constantly changing and each sailing venue will always be different.

‘That is why it can make racing incredibly difficult and frustrating at sometimes.

“But that’s probably where you learn the most from as you sometimes have to try something new or switch it up mentally.

“Another factor that makes sailing unique is the diversity within the sport.

“There are a wide range of boats that you have the choice of participating in, from keel boats to dinghies and even foiling.

“There is always something for everyone in this sport.”

Experiences

“Growing up in Fiji I participated in regattas all over the country.

“From sailing at Vuda Point in Nadi to the regattas in Laucala Bay at Suva Point. In 2017, I sailed in Vanuatu at an ENP with World Sailing.

“For high school I moved to New Zealand and that’s where racing became more competitive and intense.

“I participated in regattas all over New Zealand, particularly Auckland in a class called a Starling.

“I still do almost the same regattas but now in my Laser.

“During summer we have club racing every weekend at Kohimarama and every couple of weeks we normally go off to a regatta to race against other competitors.

“I’ve also competed in the Australian National in Queensland, Tasmania and Melbourne – Victoria.

One of my favourite regattas was at the South Pacific Games in Samoa.

“Over the years, I’ve come to the realisation that having a routine is key when it comes to performing well at competitions and training sessions.

“By having a routine, I’m able to focus and be more in control over everything which helps me not stress out as much, as you can get really pressured and anxious during regattas.

“Good nutrition is essential to performing well. And with sailing in a Laser we concentrate on core strength exercises.

“I have an incredible amount of support from my family which helps a lot, as I wouldn’t be able to do half the things I’m doing now without them.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: simione.haravanua@fijisun.com.fj



Five Square da bang online sale


Get updates from the Fiji Sun, handpicked and delivered to your inbox.


By entering your email address you're giving us permission to send you news and offers. You can opt-out at any time.


Total
Covid 19 - SPC
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper