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Auckland wins sailing champs

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 4/05/2016

Auckland will host this year's 46th Youth Sailing World Championships at short notice with a $500,000 helping hand from the taxpayer.

Around 400 young sailors from 70 countries will compete in Auckland from December 14-20, World Sailing confirmed this week.

Auckland, which last hosted the event in 1983, was chosen after the original host, Oman, pulled out in February.

It withdrew reportedly because it did not believe it could abide by anti-discrimination rules imposed after two Israeli windsurfers couldn't compete in Islamic Malaysia.

The $500,000 backing will come from the Major Events Development Fund, the government says.

"It's great that we have been able to secure this opportunity to continue our fine record of hosting international sailing regattas," said Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce.

It presented an excellent opportunity to showcase New Zealand to visitors from across the world, he said.

Sailors aged 15-19 will compete for both individual titles and overall, as a country, for the Nations Trophy, currently held by Australia.

It had not been easy to find a venue at a late stage, says World Sailing events manager Alistair Dickson.

However, they were confident that Auckland was one of the few venues in the world that could turn this championship around in the few months remaining.

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