Benn Smith and Adriana Penruddocke to fly the flag at Junior Pan Am Games
Benn Smith and Adriana Penruddocke are poised to showcase their sailing talents at the inaugural Junior Pan Am Games.
The pair will carry the island’s hopes competing in the single-handed Laser class at the championships to be held in Cali, Colombia from November 25 to December 5.
Smith and Penruddocke secured the island’s spots competing at the Youth World Championships and Women’s Youth Sailing Championships.
Penruddocke was an automatic choice as she was the only sailor meeting the age requirement after securing the island’s spot for the Junior Pan Am Games.
“Adriana was a late invitation just two weeks ago,” Tom Clarke, the Bermuda Sailing Association president, told The Royal Gazette.
“Adriana was the only Bermudian who raced in the Women’s Youth Sailing Championships in Houston a couple of years ago, so she qualified the country on that basis and also because she was the only one in the age bracket.”
Smith had a much tougher route to travel having been pitted against Campbell Patton in a qualifying series to earn the right to compete at the inaugural championships.
“Because of all the Covid issues, the original qualification for the country that was supposed to be at certain events got cancelled,” Clarke added.
“Benn and Campbell Patton had both sailed in the three previous Youth World Championships and they had good enough results that qualified the country for the event so it was between them.“They were both eligible for it so they had a three-event qualification and Benn won that on overall points to represent Bermuda, which they both helped qualify the country for.”Penruddocke will compete in the Laser Radial and Smith in the standard Laser rig.
“They are the same boat, same hull, but a slightly different sail plan,” Clarke said.
The BSA president has high expectations for the local pair in Colombia.
“Certainly it’s fantastic for Bermuda sailing and the nation that we have participants and we qualified the country,” he added. “Those two are very qualified sailors and they have every opportunity to get a very good result down there in Columbia. So we certainly wish them best of luck on that.
“It’s a tight group of 16 people so it’s a very exclusive group. But they have raced against a lot of the people before that are going to be at that event, and I think Bermuda can do extremely well.
“So we are looking forward to some great results from them and we are very proud of their accomplishments to get the country there and also to get themselves there.”
Smith and Penruddocke will have added incentive to put their best foot forward.
“The individuals who win this event, regardless of what country they are from, get an automatic invite to the Pan Am Games,” Clarke said.
“Not the Junior, but the Open Pan Am Games in 2023 so it’s a big incentive for them to do well at this event.
“If you win it there’s a big bonus. It’s a nice carrot to have out there and both of them are capable of doing very well at this event.”
The inaugural Junior Pan Am Games were originally scheduled to be held last month but were postponed until November owing to continued uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic.
As well as sailing, Bermuda is likely to be represented in archery, athletics, cycling, swimming, tennis and triathlon.