TIVAT, Thursday 26 October: Today in Tivat, sailing enthusiasts and supporters celebrated the handover of a new van funded by Montenegro Olympic Sailing Development for the benefit of the Montenegro Sailing Federation – the sport’s national governing body. The keys were handed to Predrag Vukčević, head of the Federation by Richard Gadbois, founder of the Montenegro Olympic Sailing Development programme.
“We’re delighted to have achieved our first mission of raising the 38,000 euros needed to buy this van, which guarantees transport to regattas all around Europe for Montenegro’s talented young sailors” said Mr Gadbois. “This enables them to compete at higher, international levels, which is crucial for their sporting development.”
A passionate sailor in his native California, Mr Gadbois has made a home in Montenegro since 2021 and has been impressed by the talent of young sailors here. He founded the Montenegro Olympic Sailing Development programme (MOSD) last year with a very generous initial donation. The first fundraising goal was reached thanks to donations made during the first MOSD event, which was held last month, hosted and generously sponsored by One restaurant in Tivat, with additional support from Wine Empire.
The programme aims not only to raise funds but also to support sailing development on an organisational and operational level and raise the profile of the sport throughout Montenegro. It is a long-term project that will endure far beyond next year’s Paris Olympics, nurturing the next generation of young sailors. Future initiatives include upgrading the sailing fleets and coaches’ boats and training the next generation of coaches.
“While the goal for every country is an Olympic medal, the real rewards for all competitors are teamwork, fun and satisfaction in hard work. Our approach with Montenegro Olympic Sailing Development programme is a very new and different kind of initiative for Montenegro and, based on experience in other countries, we are convinced that it will have a significant impact. Beyond just raising money, we aim to build a committed and powerful community around sailing excellence, and we all take immense pride in this collaboration.”
The programme unites all of the sailing clubs in Boka Bay and further along the coast, for the greater benefit of all. This coincides with the recent statement by the Minister for Sport, Vasilije Lalošević, that sailing is now recognised as a priority sport in Boka Bay.
The handover celebration was attended by young sailors from JK Delfin (Tivat), JK Lahor (Kotor) and JK Jugole Grakalić (Herceg Novi). Among them were Nikola Golubović, who currently holds second place in the World Championship of ILCA6 class, and Milivoj Dukić, who has already represented Montenegro in three Olympic Games.
Dukić is currently preparing his campaign for the World Championships in Australia in January and aiming for the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. This will make him one of the very few athletes in any sport to compete at four consecutive Olympic Games.
“I fell in love with sailing when I was 7 years old and can honestly say that it changed my life,” he says. “To represent my country at the Olympics is a tremendous honour and has opened up many opportunities that I would not otherwise have had in life. I’m extremely grateful for the support of MOSD, not only for my own campaign but also for what it will mean to these other talented sailors here today, all of whom have the potential to become stars of the future.”