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The Olympic Games may be a pinnacle event for any athlete, but teen sailing prodigies Carl Evans and Peter Burling are just treating it like any other regatta.

The two 17-year-old schoolboys will be New Zealand's youngest-ever Olympic sailing representatives when they line up in the 470 double-handed dinghy event in Qingdao.

Though some of their competitors will be more than twice their age, Burling isn't fazed.

"We're just trying to treat it like another regatta. It's the same people around which we see at other 470 regattas so it's no different really," the Tauranga teenager said. "We'll just try to do everything as well as we can."

Their youth aside, the pair's selection in the Beijing Games is all the more remarkable considering they have been sailing the 470 class for only just over a year.

Evans and Burling first made their mark in the 420 class, bursting on to the international scene two years ago with a world title in Spain. They went on to defend that title in Auckland in January last year before taking the step up to the Olympic class.

Initially they focused on the London Games in 2012 as a more realistic target. But after making a dream start in the class, they found themselves in the reckoning for Beijing.

With Evans at the helm and Burling crewing, the pair finished sixth in their first international 470 regatta at last year's European Championships.

They followed it up with an 11th placing at the world championships in Melbourne at the beginning of the year, missing the top-10 medal race by a solitary point. They then underlined their class with some more strong performances in Europe, including second in the French Spring Cup and third at French Olympic Week.

While most of their rivals compete fulltime, Evans and Burling have to fit their sailing around their study, with the boys in their final year at Green Bay High School and Tauranga Boys' College respectively.

But Burling believes their Beijing preparation has still been quality.

"We're quite happy with what we've done, we've spent all the time on the water that we wanted to."

Yachting New Zealand's Olympic selection policy is one of the toughest around. To be nominated, sailors must show they have the potential to win a medal in Beijing, but in the case of Evans and Burling, this year's Games is seen as a stepping stone for London.

The boys' coach, Nathan Handley, said neither he nor YNZ want to put pressure on the youngsters in terms of results, and their selection was about gaining experience for 2012.

But Handley stresses the pair aren't happy just to be there to make up numbers. "From a coach's point of view, given they are so young and quite new to the class, we don't expect the world. But in saying that they've achieved a lot of top-10 results in grade one regattas - I guess that gives you a fair idea of what they're looking for."

"They're very determined, they train hard, they're here to do their very best and we'll see what they come up with," the former Olympic 49er representative said.

So how are these new kids on the block received by their more experienced rivals?

"A lot of the guys are really impressed with what they've done at such a young age. Those guys that have been around the game for a long time and have won medals, they like it when these young guys come along and start to push them," said Handley.

While the Olympic racing doesn't get under way until 11 August, Evans and Burling will compete in a practice regatta over the next couple of days, sizing up their main rivals.

It will also give the pair a chance to adapt to the light air conditions in Qingdao, which Handley describes as unlike anything else in the world.

Handley said that although his young charges preferred a steady breeze, they had shown great potential in light-air regattas.

"They've showed moments of glory, there's no doubt about it, [but] they tend to have gone better in the breeze in recent regattas."

Having arrived in Qingdao a couple of days ago, the 470 pair haven't had much of a chance to test out the breeze after their boat suffered damage to the mast head. Evans and Burling have been shore-bound as they get a few running repairs done to their boat.

"It was just one of those things that happens with yachting and we've got a boatbuilder along looking into it ... hopefully it should be tidied up in the next couple of days," said Handley.

Understandably, sailors can often find these sort of last-minute hitches unnerving.

But not these kids.