Pimentel hoping for Olympic wild card
Cameron Pimentel, the Bermuda sailor, feels in ďlimboĒ as he waits to learn whether he will receive a wild card for this summerís 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 menís 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.
ďThere has been a lot of restless nights for the last six months as Iíve been stressing about the wild-card spot daily,Ē Pimentel said.
ďIím in a sort of mental limbo in regards to my approach to the Rio Games. Iím still training and working as though Iím going to Rio while I wait to hear about the wild-card selection.
ďAfter the championship I will return to Bermuda and then itís basically a waiting game.Ē
Pimentel finished fourth at the Laser Midwinters West in Long Beach, California, in March before placing 96th at last monthís 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.
ďItís always nice to move up in the rankings and it definitely gives me a bit of confidence,Ē said Pimentel, who finished fourteenth in the Laser class at last summerís Pan Am Games in Toronto.
ďThat being said itís still a work in progress. Iím trying to force my way into the elite group of athletes who are miles ahead in terms of their support, funding and experience.
ďTo 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 itís still a real uphill battle.Ē
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.
ďThis 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,Ē he said.
ďItís a great test run for the Olympics to see how much work needs to be done over the next few months.
ďI havenít exactly had a good preparation, missing three days of training, but Iím recovered now and Iím going to push through the event.
ďIím looking to finish healthy, improve on the areas I targeted before the event and improve on my sailing fitness.
ďRather than focusing on the result, Iíll be working on some weaknesses in my tactical game.Ē
The Bermuda Olympic Association will announce the islandís team for the Olympics at Goslingís 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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