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4 May 2011, 04:06 pm
New Champion Crowned At Thailand Optimist National Championship
Thailand Optimist National Championship
Winner of the 2011 Thailand Optimist Nationals, Chaninat Poolsirikot

Thailand Optimist National Championship
Thailand

After nine races over three days, the 130 international junior sailors finished the Thailand Optimist Nationals in style, with tropical blue skies and steady wind and Thai sailors finishing in the top three in all divisions.
The Thailand Optimist Nationals is incorporated in the Top of the Gulf Regatta and organised in co-operation with the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand.

The Under 12s division, Jarupong Meeyusamsan showed his class to take first from Sutida Poonpat in second and top Samui sailor Natthakarn Punyawan in third.

In the girls division, Chaninat Poolsirikot scored consistently well to take a resounding victory over Kanapan Pachatikapanya in second and Kamonchanok Khlahan in third.

The Thailand National Optimist champions has a long and storied history with many of today's top Thai sailors having competed, and won, the perpetual trophy.

In 1976 the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand started Junior Sailing, a programme to encourage and train young Thai sailors and send them to compete in international sailing events. In the same year, YRAT started what was then called the Optimist Thailand Championship Cup, known today as the Thailand Optimist Nationals.

Now in its 35th year, the Thailand Optimist Nationals is as competitive as ever, with many leading Thai juniors, international teams and world champions competing for the title.

This year, 2010 Thailand Optimist Nationals champion and 2010 World Champion, Noppakao Poonpat, could not enter, no longer being eligible to race Optimists having reach the class age limit. This meant 2011 would see a new national champion and a new star take the headlines.

In 2010, Thailand won the Team World Optimist Championships and two members of that winning team took part in the Thailand Optimist Nationals over the last three days.

Expectations were high for the two World Champions. After nine competitive races, Sarawut Phetsiri took second overall and Jirawat Jadklay fourth. Neither could match the five firsts and overall consistency of the series winner, 13 year old Thai girl Chaninat Poolsirikot, who won by four points and is the 2011 Thailand Optimist Nationals champion.

Sarawut Phetsiri took second and Pongsapat Pumyam third.

View more images from the Thailand Optimist National Championship here.

Chanut Nawnarong
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