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Olympian appointed Oceania Sailing first life member

The Oceania Sailing Federation’s Pacific Games meetings on Sunday were a success, with a new governing body elected and for the first time, a life member appointed.

During their biannual congress the regional sailing body also appointed their first ever life member, New Zealand former Olympian Ralph Roberts.

Mr. Roberts, born in 1935, competed in the Rome 1960 Summer Olympics and finished sixth out of 35, and eight years later in Mexico City he came eigth.

In 1993, he was made a member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services to yachting, after a 13 year career as president of Yachting New Zealand and held leadership roles in World Sailing. 

“He’s an incredible character, who is well into his eighties,” Mr. Philps said.

“He has done all sorts of incredible things for sailing as a competitor, boat builder, you name it.”

In the body leadership elections, founding member and original secretary general of the Oceania Sailing Federation (O.S.A.F ) John Tierney resigned, and Daniel Belcher stepped up to take the post.

John Tierney is from the Cook Islands, where he has been President of Sailing Cook Islands. He helped establish O.S.A.F in 2009, in order to manage the Pacific region from within, rather than from the distant World Sailing headquarters in London.

Present of O.S.A.F, Tony Philps said it is time for the federation to see a younger generation of leaders. The transition will be complete when he too eventually steps down in two or four years.

They elected a new leadership group which for the first time includes someone from the Solomon Islands a vice president. Philps hopes this will help sailing going into the 2023 Solomon Islands Pacific Games.

Also returning to the leadership is representation from Tahiti, which has been absent for nearly a decade.

“We are in good shape going forward,” Philps said.

Tierney’s replacement, Daniel Belcher is of “good pedigree,”, Philps said. He won two sailing championships in 2000 as a junior sailor and went on to achieve a top World Sailing ranking in 2004. 

His brother, Matthew Belcher is in the Australian Sailing team for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, who won a gold medal in 2012 and silver in 2016.

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