Corpus Christi (KIII News) — Hundreds of teen competitors have arrived in Corpus Christi for a significant sailing competition that will kick off this weekend.
The sailing competition is called the Youth Sailing World Championship, and young athletes from more than 60 countries have already received some practice in the Coastal Bend waters.
"Definitely excited," said Estere Kumpina, who is representing Latvia this year in her third Youth Sailing World Championship. "The sun is shining. We don't get that a lot. It's really nice and I enjoy the weather."
Kumpina was among several teens who were taking part in a clinic Wednesday at the Corpus Christi Yacht Club ahead of the competition. The clinic was all part of the Emerging Nation's program, a program that helps the young athletes who might not get the hands-on training they need back home.
"I don't sail that much back home because we have the season only for three months because it's cold," Kumpina said. "Back home I sail in the lake. More shifty, and the waves aren't that big."
"It's really to get kids who are from countries where coaching is not so good, or no support, and get them an experience of better performance and what this event is all about," South African Coach Rob Holden said.
Holden was helping the group tune their skills on the water.
"It's hugely rewarding personally because you get a kid that comes from a place where they are sailing on ancient equipment, or kids who hardly know where their next meal is coming from, and they end up in a hotel with a huge buffet of food and they don't know what to do with it," Holden said. "Those stories are really rewarding."
The race is back in U.S. waters after 22 years in other countries. The excitement gets underway Saturday with an opening ceremony and competitions held throughout next week.
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