Higgins aims to qualify for Olympics

TOP sailor Joshua Higgins is hoping that he will qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

TOP sailor Joshua Higgins is hoping that he will qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

As of Thursday, February 23, 2023



#Senior Sports Reporter


#Growing up on Harbour Island and a lover of water sports, Joshua Higgins said he knew that one day he would follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, the late Jacob Higgins, his father Melvin Higgins and his uncle Dwayne Higgins.

#But instead of competing in the native sloop sailing, which the Higgins clan were renowned for, Higgins decided to venture into the Olympic-style sailing competition and has already established himself as the top Bahamian sailor and is hoping that he will qualify for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris, France.

#Higgins, 19, has been a member of the Harbour Island Sailing Club since 2001, but through his British coach, Keir Clarke, he was able to move to Viana do Castelo, Portugal where he is training at the Viana Sailing Performance Club for the past year and-a-half for competition in the ILCA 7 sailing class.

#“I am now doing a lot of training because this is the year that I have to qualify for the Olympics,” Higgins said.

#On a daily basis, Higgins would report to training camp between 8-9:30am for an intense workout with his coach Miguel Andrade.

#After getting lunch, they return between 12-1pm for a short briefing of what the coaches will take them through for the next 2-3 hours.

#After they get off the water, Higgins said they go through a briefing with the coaches, who provide video coverage of what they did in practice. They also do some cycling on the road to help them build up their endurance.

#“Viana is a place where the weather here can get really strong,” said Higgins, who will be in Europe until June before he returns home for the Central American and Caribbean Games, which serves as a qualifier for the Pan American Games.

#Before returning home, Higgins will be back in competition at the PreCamp and Senior Europeans in Andora, Italy, March 7-17 before he competes in another event in Spain at the end of March.

#In April, he is expected to participate in the French Olympic Week in Hyeres, France April 22-29 and the YES Regatta and PreCamp May 25-29 in Germany.

#Higgins is hoping that he can improve on his previous best international competition where he got third place in the Dominican’s Olympic Regatta.

#On the local scene, Higgins has emerged as the top ranked Bahamian in the Bahamas Youth Sailing Club. He has won the Sir Durward Knowles National Sailing Regatta in 2021, only to finish as the runner-up last year.

#The emphasis for Higgins right now is to qualify the Bahamas for the Olympics.

#“That’s a big goal of mine. I want to prove a lot of the doubters wrong,” he said. “A lot of people doubted me, but at the same time, I got some more supporters. I’m going to give it my best shot.”

#In order to qualify for the Olympics, Higgins would have to finish in the top 16 in the ISET Senior World Championships. If he fails there, he can get one of the two spots from the Pan American Games in October, or he will have to wait for the World Championships in Adelaide, Australia.

#Higgins said he doesn’t miss home as he did at first, but he is in constant communication with his parents, Melvin and Gem Clarke, and other family members and friends, so he feels right at home.

#He said he’s on a mission and he wants to achieve his goal and Portugal has turned out to be the right fit for him, thanks to coach Clarke.

#“At first it was pretty hard, being so young and being away from home,” said Higgins, who was 17 when he made the transition to Portugal.

#“Being away from home, getting used to how people do things over here and getting used to the environment, the culture and the temperature, all of that had a big effect. “But having made the adjustment, I love it. I now consider this my second home. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. It’s almost like Nassau. It’s like a city, but it’s not a big city. It has its sights and a lot of history, which I’m big on, and the environment is very good for sailing. The people are nice and the food is good.”


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