Published: Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Five sailors have been elected to World Sailing's Athletes' Commission following a vote by sailors competing at the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition to the three existing members including Chinese female sailor Lijia Xu, who won a bronze medal in Beijing 2008 and a gold medal in London 2012.

World Sailing Athletes Commission Five New Members Elected

(Photos: World Sailing)

Jo Aleh (NZL), Sofia Bekatorou (GRE), Maayan Davidovich (ISR), Juan Ignacio Maegli (GUA) and Vasiliij Zbogar (SLO) join existing members Sarah Gosling (GBR) as well as Lijia Xu (CHN) and Yann Rocherieux (FRA).

The Athletes' Commission reports directly to the World Sailing Board of Directors with the Chair a permanent voting member of the Board. Rocherieux has been elected Chair of the Athletes' Commission for this term with Bekatorou as Vice-Chair. The Commission represents the interests of Olympic sailors, encouraging open communication and feedback.

The incoming members will serve a term of eight years from 2016 to 2024 and include some of the most successful sailors of recent times:

Jo Aleh (NZL)

Aleh won gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games and silver at Rio 2016, sailing in the Women's 470 with Polly Powrie. Aleh sailed at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games in the Laser Radial.

World Sailing Athletes Commission Five New Members Elected 1

Sofia Bekatorou (GRE)

Bekatorou is a four-time Olympian, winning gold at Athens 2004 in the Women's 470 and bronze in the Yngling at Beijing 2008. She further demonstrated her dynamic skillset within the sport at Rio 2016 where she sailed the Nacra 17, a mixed multihull. Bekatorou is a two-time recipient of the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award.

Maayan Davidovich (ISR)

Davidovich is a two-time Olympian in the Women's RS:X, winning multiple medals at World Championships and Sailing World Cup regattas.

Juan Ignacio Maegli – (GUA) elected by the President of World Sailing in accordance with Regulation 8.9.2(e)

The Guatemalan is a two-time Olympian in the Laser and a 2015 Pan American Games gold medallist. He won his nation's only Youth Sailing World Championships medal, a bronze, in the Hobie 16 at the 2004 edition of the event. 

Vasilij Zbogar (SLO)

Zbogar is a four-time Olympian, winning medals at three editions. His first, a bronze, came at Athens 2004 in the Laser with a silver following at Beijing 2008. He made the switch to the Finn for London 2012, finishing sixth before claiming silver at Rio 2016.

They join three existing members, who will serve through to 2020:

World Sailing Athletes Commission Five New Members Elected 3

Lijia Xu (CHN)

Bronze medallist at Beijing 2008, China's Xu won a four-way shootout for gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games. She won the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award the same year.

Sarah Gosling (GBR)

Gosling won Yngling gold at the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2004 Olympic Sailing Competitions. In addition, she is a two-time Yngling World Champion.

Yann Rocherieux (FRA)

Beijing 2008 Olympian, Rocherieux is one of the most experienced 49er sailors in the fleet and is a former European Champion. 

The Athletes Commission elect members to sit on Events, Equipment and Race Officials Committees as well as receiving invites to Working Parties considering Olympic sailing matters, and selection of World Championships venues. 

By Daniel Smith - World Sailing