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Wollmann is still in shock over qualifying

Wollmann and her family at the airport

An elated Cecilia Wollmann returned from Miami last night where she qualified for this summer’s Olympic Games.

Wollman secured her spot in Rio de Janeiro after finishing as the top North American sailor yet to qualify, and 40th overall, competing in the women’s Laser Radial at last week’s World Cup.

After being greeted by family members, Wollman expressed her joy at qualifying and being reunited with loved ones.

“I’m still kind of shocked that I qualified for the Olympics and super happy and excited to be going to Rio in August,” said the 18-year-old.

“I was really happy when I qualified and could not stop smiling the whole last leg of the race when I realised I had done it. I sailed straight over to my coach [Christian Noe] and we celebrated there and it was fun.

“It’s really nice to be back home. Miami is quite like Bermuda I guess with the weather, but it’s nice to be home and seeing everyone.”

Wollmann is the first female sailor to qualify for the Olympics since Paula Lewin — who competed in the 2004 Olympics in Athens in the Yngling class — and the youngest.

“That’s kind of cool I guess,” Wollmann said. “It’s really exciting knowing that Bermuda is definitely going to be represented in Rio.”

Her mission in Miami now accomplished, Wollmann will now step up her training in preparation for the Olympics.

“I have lots of hard training to get ready for the games,” she said. “I guess I will do a few more regattas before then and see how I do there.

“We haven’t quite decided exactly what, but I will definitely be doing a few more regattas before Rio to work on my starts and other boat-on-boat stuff.”

Wollmann’s successful qualifying bid did not go without controversy as the testimony she submitted for a protest involving Christina Persson, of the United States, and Tania Elias Calles, of Mexico, led to the latter being disqualified and eliminated from qualification.

Elias Calles was the biggest threat to Wollmann’s chances of qualifying, however the Bermuda sailor said that did not influence her testimony in any way.

“I’m not sure what happened inside the protest, I was just a witness for it,” she said. “But I know the Mexican girl [Calles] was really upset about it afterwards because it took her out of the Gold Fleet, which pretty much took her out of qualifying.

“I know I did what was right. She made the mistake and she should have got penalised because it was a really obvious mistake that she made.”

Wollmann also shrugged off concerns raised over the highly publicised water pollution in Rio and outbreak of the Zika virus.

“I haven’t gone to Rio yet but some of my friends have been down there and said sometimes it’s not as bad as they’ve been saying,” she said. “But some countries have been saying it’s really bad down there, so I will see when I go down there. I will take some vitamins and hope for the best.”

Also competing in Miami last week was Bermuda’s Cameron Pimentel who placed 61st in the full Laser rig.