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Team hopefuls are pushed to their limits

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Testing times: Griffith listens to an instructor before being put to work on the winch machine

Some of the Island’s top athletes were pushed to their physical limits during the second try out for Team Bermuda’s entry in the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in Dockyard at the weekend.

Among those representing various sporting backgrounds being put through their paces at Oracle Team USA’s gymnasium in the Clocktower were Greg Maybury, the Bermuda and Somerset Cup Match cricketer, and Na’eem Griffith, the PHC Zebras footballer.

“If you look at the teams that participate in the America’s Cup at the top level they are not just recruiting sailors, they are recruiting athletes from other sports, so it’s broadening,” Craig Brown, Team Bermuda vice-chairman and fitness trainer, said.

“The ability to winch and pull in the sails is very, very demanding and so that’s why we are casting the net wide to get the best physical specimens we have in Bermuda to be a part of this team.”

Saturday’s second combine involved fifteen athletes who were put through various drills to test their physical endurance and mental capacity under stress. Swimming ability was also scrutinised in the waters of the nearby South Basin where the Race Village for the 35th America’s Cup is to be built.

An unscheduled third try out could potentially take place which would offer those yet to try out an additional chance to do so before the team is whittled down to 18 early next year.

“We are looking possibly to have another one in December to get the kids that are off to University coming back who we haven’t been able to reach,” Brown said. “To date we have had 101 young people express interests and hopefully we can try and swell that to 125-130.”

The final racing team will consist of six Red Bull Youth America’s Cup squad members, with others supporting as training partners and a shore team.

Team Bermuda will be training and racing in the Great Sound in the foiling one-design AC45F catamaran before a hometown crowd as they face other youth teams from around the world in June 2017.

“This is maybe one of the biggest opportunities to come along in international sport for Bermuda’s young people in a very, very long time,” Glenn Jones, Team Bermuda’s spokesman, said. “We are sure we are going to have a team that can really compete against the best in the world in a couple of years.”

To be eligible for Bermuda’s Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team athletes must be at least 19 years-old and under 25 years-old on December 31, 2017, and have been born in Bermuda or possess a Bermuda passport.

Daily grind: Maybury is put through his paces in Dockyard