TT’s Andrew Lewis has booked his spot in the 2020 Olympic Games, in Tokyo, Japan. The sailor finished fourth in the men’s laser medal race at the Hempel World Cup Series in Miami, Florida, on Saturday.
In a video posted to social media, by World Sailing, an emotional Lewis was seen cheering and hitting his boat in excitement after finishing the race, as he knew what he had just accomplished despite not medaling.
Canada’s Stefano Peschiera placed first, El Salvador’s Jose Pacas came second and Canada’s Hugh Macrae placed third.
Speaking with Newsday, on Sunday afternoon, Lewis said he felt relieved after crossing the line, describing it as one of the hardest races of his life.
“I had five guys from Canada in the final all attacking me and I’ve never had that before.
“For me to pull this off with these guys over me, I was like ‘I can’t believe I did it!’
“(I’m) super grateful and super emotional. It was do or die in that race.”
He thanked his coach, two-time Olympian Javier Hernandez from Spain, adding that he thanked God every day.
He said he has broken nine of his records thus far since he began training with Hernandez.
Lewis began sailing in 2006. He said despite years of experience, nerves remain difficult to control when participating in such a sport.
“Everything I felt, I turned it into fire. Every nerve, every extra heartbeat, every tear — I just let it rev me up and I kept going.”
He said he will be taking one week off from training, then begin preparing for the Olympics which will be held from July 24 to August 9.
He will compete in the men’s single-handed dinghy.
It will be Lewis’ third Olympic appearance for TT, having also represented the country at the 2012 games in London and the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
In 2015, he experienced a life-threatening injury, but still managed to push through to compete in 2016. He was crushed by a wall, leaving him with broken ribs, a punctured lung, several fractured facial bones and a broken tibia and fibia.
He remains the only TT sailor in the Laser class to ever qualify for the Olympics.
He was the flag bearer for TT at the 2019 Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. He is also a sports ambassador for Atlantic.