2010: team Petra Kliba on the hunt for Olympic Gold
Petra Kliba has been on or around the water. Having started racing as a teenager, her competitive instincts and skills brought her close to qualifying for the Olympics in Atlanta in 1996 in the Europe dinghy class, but a sudden knew injury kept her out of contention.
For all but the first four of her 33 years,
Rather than giving up, Petra then shifted her focus to offshore sailing, where in 1996/97 she sailed in the Hong Kong Challenge Round the World Race, and kept this interest ever since. In 2007 she raced with an all-women’s team in the HSH Nordbank Blue Race from Newport to Hamburg, and then a year later with the same team in the Baltic Sprint Cup.
“My team and I are very grateful for all the support SCOR has given us thusfar in our path to London for 2012,” said Kliba. “Last year our SCOR Women’s Match Race Team had some encouraging results, including winning the ISAF Grade 3 Croatian Women’s Open in Rogoznica. So we are very focused to continue this success with another year of many events.”
Kliba’s team of Gea Barbic, Nikolina Dakulovic, Jelena Prekalj, Ute Wagner and Sanja Zuljevic has even more events planned to race than last year’s eight, a decidedly aggressive schedule but one the team feels is needed to improve and generate the results needed to advance through the ISAF rankings from their current position of 39th. Only 12 teams will be eligible to compete in the Games, with 9 determined in the 2011 World Championships, so the timing is short and every match will count to reach the final goal.
But Kliba is confident in her skills and those of her team, and after narrowly missing an opportunity to qualify for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta in the Europe dinghy class due to a knee injury, she is more hungry than ever to get to the Games. The recent addition of women’s match race sailing as a medal discipline has given her renewed energy and interest in this pursuit.
“Since 2008 I can say I definitely turned myself into match race enthusiast. I love the format: it is a dynamic sport, you need perfect team work, a lot of training, knowledge of the rules, and executing all of this in very short time, almost by instinct. In match racing you are either the winner or the loser. There is no second! The matches are short, easy to watch and follow, because they are being held closer to shore. At the end of a day you always have a result, because all the protesting is done directly on the water. A match lasts around 20 minutes, requires good physical preparation and stamina from the whole crew, because the match racing days can last long and you can have up to 8 matches per day.
“After committing to get fully into match racing, I was happy as soon as I realized I could be part of the Olympic Games. Finally, this dream could come true! Finally, a new choice to fulfill that old dream after all this years woke in me an immense willingness, happiness and enthusiasm: this time I want to reach my Olympic aim and race in London 2012.”