Pimentel hoping for Olympic wild card
Cameron Pimentel, the Bermuda sailor, feels in “limbo” as he waits to learn whether he will receive a wild card for this summer’s Olympic Games in Rio.
Pimentel missed out on a qualifying spot at the World Cup Regatta in Miami in January, finishing 71st in the 98-boat Laser men’s fleet, but has not given up on his Olympic dream.
The 25-year-old is presently competing at the Laser World Championships in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, where he is 91st in a 112-boat fleet after four days of competition.
“There has been a lot of restless nights for the last six months as I’ve been stressing about the wild-card spot daily,” Pimentel said.
“I’m in a sort of mental limbo in regards to my approach to the Rio Games. I’m still training and working as though I’m going to Rio while I wait to hear about the wild-card selection.
“After the championship I will return to Bermuda and then it’s basically a waiting game.”
Pimentel finished fourth at the Laser Midwinters West in Long Beach, California, in March before placing 96th at last month’s Princess Sofia Trophy Regatta in Mallorca, where he missed the last two races because of an elbow injury.
Those results have helped Pimentel climb to 109th in the world rankings, his highest-ever position. It is another small step as he attempts to close the gap on the elite sailors, many of whom enjoy far greater funding and support.
“It’s always nice to move up in the rankings and it definitely gives me a bit of confidence,” said Pimentel, who finished fourteenth in the Laser class at last summer’s Pan Am Games in Toronto.
“That being said it’s still a work in progress. I’m trying to force my way into the elite group of athletes who are miles ahead in terms of their support, funding and experience.
“To put it into perspective, imagine comparing the resources of Bermuda against powerhouse countries such as Britain, France, United States and Australia. So in that sense it’s still a real uphill battle.”
Despite his preparations being less than ideal, with Pimentel losing valuable time while recovering from his injury, he is excited to test himself against some of the best sailors in world in Mexico.
“This event is of the absolute highest quality with the best in the world competing, so everything I work on is going to be useful if I manage to get to Rio,” he said.
“It’s a great test run for the Olympics to see how much work needs to be done over the next few months.
“I haven’t exactly had a good preparation, missing three days of training, but I’m recovered now and I’m going to push through the event.
“I’m looking to finish healthy, improve on the areas I targeted before the event and improve on my sailing fitness.
“Rather than focusing on the result, I’ll be working on some weaknesses in my tactical game.”
The Bermuda Olympic Association will announce the island’s team for the Olympics at Gosling’s Wine Cellar on Thursday, June 23.
Already qualified for Rio are Tyrone Smith in the long jump, sprinter Tre Houston, sailor Cecilia Wollmann and rower Shelley Pearson. Triathlete Flora Duffy has all but qualified.
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