South African Duo Setting Sail for the Olympics Are Optimistic Underdogs

(file photo).

They were crowned world champions in 2017. Four years later, South African sailors Benji Daniel and Alex Burger are poised for their maiden appearance at the Olympic Games. They hope to build on this latest milestone.

First published in the Daily Maverick 168 weekly newspaper.

Benji Daniel and Alex Burger know how to win big regattas, but have faced nothing as big as the Olympics. The South African pair will go into the competitive 49er class in Tokyo as complete underdogs.

The duo was recently confirmed by the South African Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) as among those who will represent South Africa at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. That was one hurdle cleared.

For the pair, who currently sail in the 49ers class, the opportunity to represent the country at the quadrennial sports spectacle is something they savour and are excitedly looking forward to. Especially considering that it almost did not happen.

"We were hoping to qualify in April 2020, when the Olympics were set to take place last year. When the Olympic games were delayed by a year it struck pretty hard," Burger (24) told DM168.

"When they were postponed, it was pretty shocking and an unprecedented...

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