Beijing Olympic champion Paul Goodison has added a long-awaited first World Championship title to his belt, claiming an emphatic gold at the Laser Worlds which drew to a close in Halifax, Canada.
In spite of losing two days of the six day event - one day with too much wind courtesy of Hurricane Bill, the next with too little - the 31-year-old kept his cool throughout to add the world title to his Olympic and European crowns. Paul Goodison
had blazed into the overall lead with a stunning 3, 1, 1 series of scores on Tuesday and a seventh place finish in Wednesday's first race followed by a 20th in the final race of the series was good enough for the Brit to secure the World title.
Silver went to New Zealander Michael Bullot
, who finished 6.5 points behind Goodison in the final standings with impressive 6, 8 scores in the two final races on Wedneday. Four points further back, 23-year-old Nick Thompson
(GBR) made it a double celebration for the Skandia Team GBR camp, clinching his first ever senior World Championship medal - a bronze - to ensure two British sailors were up on the prize giving podium.
Argentinean Julio Alsogaray
, 2008 silver medallist, took fourth with Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic
in fifth. Top Canadians were David Wright
in sixth, and Michael Leigh
in 10th. Australian Tom Slingsby
, who won the 2007 and 2008 Worlds, came in 17th.
"It's fantastic, and such a relief," said Goodison of his victory, which sees him still unbeaten in international action since taking gold in Beijing a year ago. As well as claiming the European title earlier this month, the Rotherham sailor took gold at three events of the ISAF Sailing World Cup that he's competed at.
"Having won all my other events this year, and with the Worlds having been the big focus for me this year there was quite a bit of pressure to do the business and I'm just so happy that it's all done and dusted," he said, before going on to praise the efforts of teammate Thompson.
"I've got to watch my back! But all credit to Nick - he's had a fantastic week and I'm really pleased for him."
Goodison's previous best Laser Worlds result came in 2002 where he finished third.
For Thompson himself, his bronze signals an important marker in establishing himself as one of the key contenders in the highly competitive Laser fleet.
"This really was the year for me to make my mark," explained Thompson, who is currently leading the ISAF Sailing World Cup
series thanks to wins at the Miami and Palma legs in the early season.
"It's been a difficult week, with a bit of everything thrown at us. I sailed a near perfect qualifying series, but then we didn't race for the first two days of the finals with the hurricane and then afterwards, so that was mentally pretty challenging and I didn't race that well on the first day back.
"But I knuckled down today and got two good results to stay on the podium so I'm really pleased."
Both British sailors will next compete at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta - the seventh and final leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup - at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (14-19 September) where just a top 15 finish for Thompson should see him take the overall series victory.
With one day lost to racing when Hurricane Bill brushed Nova Scotia on Sunday and a lack of wind preventing racing on Monday, competitors still managed to get in 10 races. Even with a near hurricane and a dead calm, athletes were pushed through five days of racing on St. Margaret's Bay in winds ranging from 10 to 24 knots.
"Athletes tell us it was a challenging five days," said event manager Duncan Enman. "The final race was classic with Goodison and Bullot hunting each other at the start. It was a mesmerizing dance along the start line as each athlete tried to outplay the other. Amazing sailing, amazing sport, as one would expect at a World Championship."
Organizers are now gearing up for the Laser Masters Worlds for athletes 35 years and older. There are more than 300 competitors from around the globe beginning to arrive at the St. Margaret Sailing Club for the second portion of the Laser Worlds. Racing for the Masters begins on Sunday and concludes on 5 September.
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