Some of the students in the programme trying their hand at the 'winching' technique.
Some of the students in the programme trying their hand at the ‘winching’ technique on board an F36 boat.

AS a result of the Government’s keen initiative to develop and create a pipeline of talent for the sport of sailing in Malaysia, the 2014 edition of the Belia Belayar programme kicked off today in Langkawi – the first chosen location .

The Belia Belayar programme was introduced by the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) through the National Sports Council (NSC), in collaboration with the Malaysia Yachting Association (MYA) in 2013. In that same year, a total of 923 students from 13 schools participated in the programme in Duyong Island, Terengganu.

For this year’s edition which starts from February 13-16, a total of 900 students – ranging from 13 to 17 years of age – and teachers from six selected schools would be involved in the programme. The six participating schools are SMK Kelibang, SMK Kedawang, SMK Mahsuri, Langkawi Vocational College, SMK Tunku Putera and SMK Ayer Hangat.

Under the programme, local youth will be given an early exposure to sailing to help cultivate their interest in the sport. Their talent would be identified and subsequently polished to be brought to a higher level, through various programmes to be organized by MYA.

The Belia Belayar programme will include a combination of classroom and in-the-water sessions, with emphasis placed on basic aspects of sailing, sailing demonstrations, training sessions and races between the participants.

Students from the selected schools would be given the opportunity to use the F36 ‘match racing’ boats used at the recently concluded first leg of the Liga Layar Malaysia (LLM). They will also be taken to watch and experience the thrills and spills of the 11th KFC- NSC Langkawi International Regatta Perdana 2014 (LIRP) themselves.

Langkawi remains an ideal destination for sailing among youths due to its challenging conditions, which are seen to be perfect when it comes to aiding the development of grassroots sailing in Malaysia. Apart from Langkawi, the programme will also be hosted in Lumut, Port Dickson, Port Klang, Duyong Island and Danga Bay.

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