Scarlett Hadley, a student at Girls’ High School, will represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines at the PanAm Games in Chile, from Oct. 25 to Nov. 5.
This is the first time a sailor from SVG has the been selected to compete in such a prestigious event, the SVG Sailing Association said in a press release.
Hadley learnt to sail with the Vincy Sailing Club seven years ago and took part in her first competition, Bequia Junior Regatta in 2018.
She impressed World Sailing Coach Rob Holden and in 2020, mid-pandemic, was chosen to be part of the World Sailing Emerging Nations Programme.
Her commitment to the programme and to training on and off the water was well regarded by World Sailing, the SVG Olympic Committee and the regions sailing organisations, and earlier this year the PanAm Sailing Organisation offered her a place at the games.
She will be competing in 10 races over nine days against the Olympic sailors from North, South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean.
Anna Tunnicliffe, USA Olympic Gold Medallist and online coach for Scarlett said, “Enjoy this amazing experience Scarlett, but mostly have fun!”
“Competitive sailing demands a high level of mental and physical fitness, so as well as her on water training, she has been working with coach Lindon James from Be Fit Movement SVG,” the association said.
“Scarlett’s work ethic is amazing, her strength and condition has improved tremendously,” James said.
The sailing conditions at the sailing venue, Algarrobo, Chile are 12 degrees Celsius, significantly colder than the waters of SVG.
When UK sailing supplier, Rooster UK, heard about her story they were keen to help and supplied Hadley with wetsuits and thermal gear to help her stay warm.
The Sailing Federation of Argentina are helping Hadley with the Olympic class boat she will sail and Digicel SVG kindly donated towards the purchase of a new sail.
Hadley spends much of her spare time teaching Vincy children to sail, giving them new skills, opening up opportunities for them in the yachting industry. She truly gives back to the young people of these beautiful islands.