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South Africa's sailing team gears up for 2012 Olympic Games

June 15, 2012

The 2012 London Summer Olympics are drawing near, and an unlikely South African duo have teamed up for the two-man 470 sailing event. Reuters reports Roger Hudson and Asenathi Jim will be representing their country as well as the dream of racial equality former president Nelson Mandela and other anti-apartheid activists fought for. Hudson is a white man in his early 30s who grew up in an affluent family with an affinity for boating, while Jim was raised in the poor neighborhood of Red Hill overlooking Cape Town.

When Jim was a teen, he joined the Izivungu Sailing School and found he was a natural on the water. The pair met when Jim joined the RaceAhead crew that was sponsored by Hudson and his father, a former Olympian, the news source reports. Jim was named SA Sailing Magazine's South African sailor of the year in 2010, which was all Hudson needed to offer him a place on his racing team.

Now, the duo has been racing together for about 18 months, and managed to edge their way into the top third of the World Championships in Barcelona last month. The RoadToLondon2012 website reports the team wound up placing 28th among 95 teams, guaranteeing them a spot in the 2012 Olympic Games.

"When we put aside our different backgrounds and cultures to work together, we can be very strong," Hudson told Reuters. They have also assembled a crew of talented and competitive sailors. "Everyone we put behind us is a success because they are all of an extremely high pedigree."

The team does not expect to come home from the 2012 Games with a medal, but they will use the experience to better prepare themselves for the 2016 and 2020 games. Those who want to find out more about South Africa's sailing team can make calls to South Africa with phone cards and discuss the upcoming competition with their friends.

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