Success of an Islandian at the 2019 Indian Ocean Islands Games
Winning the 10th edition of the Indian Ocean games put Mauritius in the limelight from the 19th to the 28th of July 2019. The excitement across the nation was at its peak and none less than in our offices as one of our very own Islandians, Annaëlle Félicie, won a Bronze medal at the sailing competition (Laser 4.7 category). We honour her performance by looking back on her career so far.
Annaëlle Félicie is only 24. Despite her age, the young Islandian already has numerous titles under her belt including a hardfought Bronze medal snatched from the Reunionese competitor, Charton Swan, at the JIOI 2019. Her brilliant performance made the Islandian office (and the whole of Mauritius) proud. But the writing was on the wall for Annaëlle. Immersed in the world of sailing since a young age, she graduated from the Optimist category to the Laser 4.7 in only a few years, and has never stopped progressing since.
Annaëlle’s love affair with the ocean
Born on the coastal town of Pointe aux Canonniers, and with a Skipper as a father, Annaëlle’s love affair with the ocean was always meant to be. But it’s when accompanying her dad on his numerous trips out at sea, that this love affair, turned into a calling.
Inspired by other youth in the region who shared the same passion, she joined the Grand Baie sailing club for her first taste of the sport.
It was baby steps at first. She was given an Optimist class sail, a life jacket, and taught the basics of sailing a boat. Slowly, but surely, Annaëlle took it all in, and discovered the liberating sensation of sailing across the waters of the Indian Ocean. The rest, as they say, is history and these humble beginnings set her down the path of becoming one of the finest Coxwain’s in Mauritius. “Perseverance is without a doubt, the essential ingredient to achieving one’s objectives” said Mouctar Kaïta and Anaëlle heard the message loud and clear! Determined to succeed in the sport, she spent most of her weekends, school holidays and free time at the sailing club which became her second home. Her determination paid off when, encouraged by her family, she signed up for her first local competition in 2008 before following it up with a trip to South Africa for an Optimist class sailing event.
Determined to push herself further, she leaned on her coach's expert advice to master the wind and waves until she eventually graduated to the Laser 4.7 category. After that, she kept adding competitive events under her belt setting off to Reunion island to compete in the Indian Ocean Cup in 2012 and representing Mauritius for the Indian Ocean Games in 2015. Seychelles was next on the agenda in 2016, where she competed against the best in her category before competing in 2017 for the cup on home turf. Gold, Silver, Bronze… the young woman keeps filling up her trophy cabinet with them! But of all her successes, the hard-fought Gold won in Reunion Island in 2012 is one of her most treasured.
Even after having turned pro, Annaëlle remains humble. To remain grounded, all she has to do is remember that the sport she loves is not an easy one.
Despite her knowledge of sailing, tricky situations happen every time she competes. For example, the wind or the cold - unpredictable weather conditions none can control - slow her down in her tracks… and let’s not forget the freak situations which can arise as well. One of the toughest moments she’s had to face (and that’s an understatement!) was in the shark infested waters of Reunion Island. In the end, she was left unscathed but the mental battle helped her become stronger and develop her confidence.
Today Annaëlle continues her path to mastery while balancing her professional life and her passion for sailing. Always motivated to push herself further, the young woman does everything in her power to succeed. And this year, she proved her mettle once again by winning a Bronze Medal at the JIOI 2019… You rock Annaëlle!