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20 July 2006, 07:00 pm
Day 7: Gold Medals Galore
Italy celebrate winning the Volvo Trophy
Italy celebrate winning the Volvo Trophy

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2006
Weymouth, Great Britain

The Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship came to a final flourish in Weymouth, Great Britain today, with the seven championship titles decided and Italy lifting the Volvo Trophy for the first time.
The day's most exciting racing took place out of Weymouth Bay on the 420 course. A light seven to ten knot south westerly greeted the crews for the start, and the tension was obvious with two general recalls before the boys' fleet got underway under black flag. The Israeli team lying third overall were the major casualties, slamming the hull in frustration as they were marked out as over early at the first mark.

The fifth place Brazilians got away well from the middle of the line, reached the top mark first and held on to lead right until the final downwind when the American team of Michael MENNINGER and Nicholas MARTIN sneaked past to take the bullet. For Marcos ADLER and Bruno LEAL FARIA (BRA) second was good enough to give them the bronze medal, but elsewhere the battle was on for gold.

The Aussie pairing of Sam KIVELL and Max TAYLOR, lying in second place overall, had not made the best start and rounded the top mark in eighth, five places behind the leading Argentines. However Sebastian PERI BRUSA and Santiago MASSERONI (ARG) had a bad set on the top reach, letting the Aussies past and from then on as TAYLOR explains, 'We just tried to put as many people between us and them as possible.'

To win the title the Aussies had to better PERI BRUSA and MASSERONI by six places, and on the final downwind the gap was five. KIVELL and TAYLOR disposed of the third place Monaco team, but the Argentineans were also picking up places. However they lost out through the final gate, letting Singapore through with the Croatians also squeezing past. They crossed the line ninth and it looked as if the title had slipped through their grasp.

On returning to shore though they protested the Croatians on rule 18.2(c), the Jury agreed and Croatian team were disqualified. This lifted the Argentineans up by one place, drew them level with the Aussies on points and saw them take the title on countback.

Australian Girls Take Title

The Aussie did win gold in the other 420 fleet, as Belinda KERL and Chelsea HALL (AUS) arrived on shore as 2006 Youth Worlds Champions. They were unbeatable today with the second discard to come in after race nine, but again displayed their ability to sail through the fleet as they recovered from a mediocre start to finish in third place.

The Australians sat in the press conference this afternoon full of smiles, 'We were pretty stoked, really, really happy', then KERL added, 'We are ecstatic as we really did not expect to go so well. It has been a great opportunity to see how other teams from around the world go. On the whole a fantastic experience.'

Spain's Agueda SURIA and Marta Martinez PONS were OCS and forced to wait nervously for the finish, but the Singapore team of Sarah TAN and Tze TING could finish no better than seventh, giving Singapore only their third ever medal at the Youth Worlds by taking the final podium spot.

MIHELIC Wins In Style

Like KERL and HALL, Croatia's Tina MIHELIC had managed to put herself in a position this morning where she could not be beaten. She still ended the regatta in style though, coming in second in the final race to extend her winning margin to 15 points. Back in the boat park, she explained just what winning the Youth Worlds meant. 'All this year I have been waiting for this regatta. I have been training a lot and competing in senior regattas, but this is the one I've been waiting for and now I'm just so happy.' Behind MIHELIC, Marit BOUWMEESTER (NED) overtook Maiken FOGHT SCHUTT (DEN) to claim the silver medal.

At just 15 years old, Singapore's Victoria CHAN in the Laser Radial class is certainly a name to look out for in the future following a win at the Laser 4.7 World Championships in France two weeks ago, and her fourth place here in Weymouth.

The gold medal was up for grabs in the hotly contested Laser fleet, where Sweden's Emil CEDERGARD was looking to atone for a difficult time yesterday and reclaim the top spot. Canada's Luke RAMSAY had other ideas though, crossing in third, whilst CEDERGARD saw the title slip through his fingers as he finished in twelfth, leaving RAMSAY with the gold medal by a mere two points. Russia's Igor LISOVENKA finished in the bronze medal position.

Later RAMSAY gave out some wise words to future youth sailors, 'I have trained really hard all year for this event and throughout the competition has been really close and finally to come out on top is really great. My friend Jen, who competed at the Volvo ISAF a few years ago and did well, gave me some good advice: just treat it like any other regatta.'

Defending champion Lukas GRODZICKI (POL) had already wrapped up his second Youth Worlds title in yesterday's race and sat out of the final Boy's RS:X race today. Fabian HEIDEGGER (ITA) finished today's final race in third place, enough to secure himself a silver medal, with Pierre LECOQ (FRA) taking bronze. The battle between these two competitors has been intense all week, even to the point where they both protested each other for a race incident for which they were both subsequently disqualified by the jury.

LINARES Reaches Her Goal

Meanwhile in the Girls' fleet all but disaster was going to be good enough to see double bronze medallist Laura LINARES (ITA) crowned champion. There was no question of her sailing a conservative race though, and she swept to the title with a bullet. Silver was already assured for Maayan DAVIDOVICH (ISR) with Malgorzata BIALECKA (POL) third. LINARES was delighted with victory, 'I finally realized my dream,' before adding to hoots and cheers, 'Now my biggest dream is to come back here in 2012.'

For three-time Hobie 16 medallist Tom PHIPPS, who guaranteed his second Youth Worlds gold yesterday with crew Richard GLOVER (GBR), thoughts were also wandering past the immediate glory of victory. 'It is a massive achievement to get to the top in an event like this and it makes me want to go further in the sport.' In the battle for medals behind the Brits, Brazil's Bruno VILELA FREY and Ricieri VIDAL MARCHI finished second in today's race to rise up to second overall, whilst Jenna Mai HANSEN and Jonathan BAY (DEN) secured third, with HANSEN becoming the first female to medal in the open multihull event.

Battle For The Volvo Trophy

The battle for the Volvo Trophy saw Italy go into the day with a six point advantage over Great Britain, although with the Brits holding slightly better scores from the RS:X and Hobie races already completed. The British team pulled out all the stops to get the better of the Italians, with Sean EVANS (GBR) posting a second and his best score of the series in the final Laser race. Added to another second by Richard HAMILTON (GBR) in the RS:X, a bullet by PHIPPS and GLOVER and a fifth from Beth WILLIAMSON (GBR) in the Girls' RS:X fleet, the British team amassed its best score of the regatta with a massive 34 points.

Italy already held 23 points from the previous day and so had to find another six to stay ahead of the Brits. Giulia ZAPPACOSTA and Sara ZRIBI obliged with a second place in the Girls' 420 race, and the Volvo Trophy went to Italy for the first time, and they become only the fifth nation to win the prize.

Italian coach, Filippo MARETTI was proud of his young sailors, 'It is the first time the team has won the trophy and is very important in encouraging the sailors, coaches and the team leaders. It's a reward for all our efforts. We are so happy for all of our sailing team and for the strength it will give sailing in Italy in the future.'

Glenn BOURKE, CEO of the Volvo Ocean Race commented today, when hearing the final results of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships, 'We at Volvo are very proud to sponsor such a prestigious event. With 63 nations participating, it highlights how sailing brings people together globally. This event's previous winners include America's Cup sailors, like Russell COUTTS [(NZL)], double Olympic gold medallist Ben AINSLIE [(GBR)] or Volvo Ocean Race winner Stuart BANNATYNE [(NZL)]. I am sure some of the winners from this years event will go onto became the sailing stars of the future.'

As well as the medal winners, there were plenty more competitors celebrating around the boat park, as the 2006 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship drew to a close. With a record breaking 63 nations taking part, the Youth Worlds newest nation Barbados had one happy sailor coming off the water today. 16 year old Gregory DOUGLAS (BAR) scored a series best of 21 in today's final Laser race, putting him up to 32nd out of the 44 competitors in the Laser fleet. DOUGLAS was delighted to end on a high note and sounded a note familiar across the 281 youngsters competing in Weymouth, 'It has been a really good experience and hopefully I'll be back.'

Download The Daily Video Podcast

Video Podcasts will be available daily of the action from on the water from 14-20 July 2006.

Sophie LUTHER (As Amended By ISAF)
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