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14 July 2006, 06:00 pm
Day 1: Let The Games Begin
Oltmann THYEN from Germany takes it round the mark
Oltmann THYEN from Germany takes it round the mark

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2006
Weymouth, Great Britain

Today saw the start of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in bright sunshine and moderate breezes for all classes, with the 281 competitors from 63 nations battling it out in Weymouth Bay, Great Britain.
After the inspirational Official Opening Ceremony last night all the young sailors were set up for a big first day of competition.

All fleets had three races today, which started promptly at midday. First up were the windsurfers on their RS:X's inside the breakwater, where winds were lighter and shifty. In the boys' fleet, Lukasz GRODZICKI from Poland and Frenchman Pierre LECOQ, respectively the gold and silver medallist from last year, dominated the fleet, both with only top three positions.

Sixth placed Nimrod MASHIAH from Israel had a promising start to the day with a third in the first race but unfortunately for the 18 year old, in the second two races he placed in eighth. 'This is my third and last time at the Youth Worlds and I really want to do well. I'm a bit disappointed with my results today but it can only get better. The wind wasn't really with me today as I am the heaviest guy in the fleet and it was better for the lighter people. I like Weymouth a lot but of course I have too because I must get here in 2012 for the Olympics!'

The top three girls on the RS:X boards are also fighting it out hard, with Italian Laura LINARES, pipping Malgorzata BIALECKA of Poland and Maayan DAVIDOVICH of Israel to the post with a first, second and third. It is the 16 year old's third ISAF Youth World Championships and she sees this event as a fantastic opportunity to practise in Weymouth before 2012. 'I was confident today as I prefer this weather. I like eight to ten knots and flat seas. I come from Marsala in Sicily so I am used to training in these conditions.'

Argentina And Singapore Lead In 420s

The two person 420 fleet saw Argentina run away with an early lead. Sebastian PERI BRUSA and Santiago MASSERONI scored eight, giving them a six point gap between them and the Puerto Rican boys Adrian HERNANDEZ and Francisco MEDINA.

The Singapore 420 girls surprised even themselves, when they gained poll position after two seconds and a third. This is Sarah TAN and Ting TZE's (SIN) first Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships, so they were on a high. TAN explained how the best friends have been sailing since they were small in the Optimist fleet and decided a year ago to move onto the 420. 'It's such a great feeling being first today at our first Youth Worlds. We have so much fun on the boat and we love it here. We are very satisfied with all our hard work.'

The whole Laser fleet had mixed results today, but in the boys' fleet, Swedish Emil CEDERGARD came in first followed by Luke RAMSAY of Canada and Pavlos KONTIDES of Cyprus. In the girls' Laser Radial races, Denmark's Maiken Foght SCHUTT just sneaked ahead of Tina MIHELI? of Croatia. MIHELI? was happy with her performance, 'The first race was a bit light for me and shifty but I loved the second because it was stronger breeze and I'm good in that. I hope I get a medal this year as I missed out last year when I came fourth!'

Hosts Shine In The Hobie

British medal hopefuls, Tom PHIPPS and Richard GLOVER had a great day in the Hobie 16 fleet with a first, second and fourth but have Singapore's Melcolm HUANG and Pei Quan CHUNG nipping at their heels. GLOVER was very pleased with the result, 'It's a great result for us and a good stepping stone for the rest of the week. Let's see if we can keep it up.'

Apart from the record breaking number of nations this week, it is also the first time Barbados has competed in the event, whilst Pakistan appear for only the second time, thanks to support from the ISAF Athlete Participation Programme (APP). It is also APP sailor Kai CHAPLIN of the Bahamas first Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships competing in the Laser fleet. The young sailor cannot believe he is here in Weymouth, 'It's really exciting to be here. I didn't have a very good day but I'm used to bigger breeze than this to perform well. I would really love to be here in 2012 and if I work hard maybe I can do it.'

At the end of day one of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2006 every competitor knows this week will be a long one but only time will tell who will come out on top and receive gold and the glory of being the ISAF Youth World Champion.

Myrrh WALKER
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