Young sailor Jamie Calder aims for Olympic glory

Olympics sailing hopeful Jamie Calder
Olympics sailing hopeful Jamie Calder
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A 16-YEAR-OLD sailor is setting his sights on Olympic glory after winning a major European title.

Schoolboy Jamie Calder achieved the first part of his dream of sporting success after winning the Laser Radial Youth Championships last month.

Now he is aiming to secure his biggest ambition – to compete in the 2020 Olympics.

The Balerno High School pupil battled against 190 other boys to grab the top spot, enduring a five-day test of nerve and physicality off the coast of Viana do Castelo in Portugal.

Jamie’s win places him in the company of his hero, Sir Ben Ainslie, who also won the race as a 16-year-old and later became the most successful sailor in Olympic history.

This week the youngster will jet off to Kingston, Canada, to compete in the Laser Radial Youth World Championships, another stepping stone to Tokyo.

But the teenager, who recently bagged straight As in his National 5 qualifications, said he was trying not to let thoughts of winning medals distract him too much.

“I’m over the moon,” said Jamie, referring to last month’s win.

“It’s every sailor’s dream to get a European or a world championship under their belt and to get it at such a young age – I’m pretty happy.

“Sailing is in my family. My grandad sailed as a hobby. My dad and my uncle grew up around it and took it quite seriously.

“It’s fantastic to have them advising me because of their experience.

“They understand the emotions I’m going through when I do well, or when I’m not doing so well.”

Jamie, who started sailing at four years old and was racing by the time he was nine, last year become the youngest sailor in his class to win the Royal Yachting Association Youth National Sailing Championships in Weymouth.

A member of the Royal Forth Yacht Club, he revealed his continued success had come at a cost – albeit one he is willing to pay.

“I’ve had to sacrifice a few things, like my social life, really,” he said. “But I’m happy to do that to get to the top and I have a number of good sailing friends.

“The long-term goal is to get Olympic gold at either the 2020 or the 2024 Games.”

Proud dad Iain, 48, said: “Jamie works very hard. If he’s not sailing he’s concentrating on his school work – we’re equally proud of him for that.

“But he never likes to brag about what he has done.”