After coaching the Dutch, Hong Kong and German sailing teams, Diederick Bakker has now committed to a new country and a new goal: Egypt!
“I have started coaching the Dutch windsurfing teams for the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games. Then I spent a couple of years in Hong Kong before joining the German team until last year where I coached the Women Match racing team.”
“With Egypt, it all started when I was asked by the International Windsurfing Association last year to give some help to a windsurfer from Egypt, Ahmed Habash who had been invited to compete in the London Olympic Games. It was the first time in the Olympic Games for an Egyptian sailor. Ahmed had only a couple of weeks to train in Weymouth and there was very little time to learn much, especially with such a strong fleet. So the intention was to finish the races within the time limit! Of course with Dorian speed, that made it very difficult. In any case, to have a sailor in the Olympic Games motivated the country to continue and go for more! The Egyptian Federation asked me to work with them and form a RS:X and a Laser team.”
With the next Mediterranean Games in sight, Bakker has selected a team in both classes, to train them for the international competition and the objective to qualify them for the Rio Olympic Games.
“There are about 20 Laser and radial sailors, so the first task was to select the best eight to form a team. We have set up a training camp in Alexandria where the wind is lighter than in the red sea. From the team of eight sailors I have selected the best two, Ahmed Ragab and Essam Elwy, to compete in the Delta Lloyd Regatta. The objectives are to give them a taste of international competition and big fleet but also to assess their progress against the other nations before the Mediterranean Games.”
After Medemblik, Ahmed and Essam will sail in the Europa Laser Cup in Horn before returning home to train for the Mediterranean Games in Turkey in June.
“We will be planning two or three international events per year and intensive training in Egypt. The sailors need to work a lot on the physical aspect and endurance as well as spend time on the water. In the end, the objective is to help them to qualify in the Laser and the RS:X for the 2016 Olympics.”