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4 July 2005, 11:33 am
Stars Of The Past And Stars Of The Future
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Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2005
Busan, Korea

The number of ISAF Youth Worlds medallists who have gone on to compete at the pinnacle events of the sport, be it the Olympic Games, America's Cup, offshore events or speed sailing is testament to the significance of this event as an indicator of future greatness. If you cast your eyes over the list of ISAF Youth Worlds medal winners the names of champions from across the world of sailing leap off the page.
From Ben AINSLIE (GBR) and Russell COUTTS (SUI) to Paco WIRZ (ITA) and Vasco VASCOTTO (ITA) the ISAF Youth Worlds can certainly support it's status as a breeding ground for future champions.

At the inaugural ISAF Youth World Championship in Angelholm, Sweden in 1971 a young Geoff MEEK (RSA) won the silver medal in the 420 with crew Felix UNITE. Today, he is the skipper of South Africa's America's Cup challenge, Team Shosholoza. The biggest name in the America's Cup of recent years is undoubtedly the legendary COUTTS and it should be no surprise that he has a couple of ISAF Youth Worlds medals in his trophy cabinet. In 1979, well before any of the competitors at this years' event in Korea were even born, COUTTS won a silver medal sailing a Europe. Two years later he won a gold, this time in the Laser.

In the same year as COUTTS' first medal winnning performance, another America's Cup legend, multiple ISAF Match Racing World Champion and skipper for the current BMW Oracle campain, Chris DICKSON (NZL), won his second ISAF Youth Worlds gold medal. DICKSON won his first gold medal in the 420 in 1978, and then in 1980 took home his third successive gold, sailing a Laser II with Sean REEVES.No ALT tag specified The current team lists for the next America's Cup in Valencia, Spain include more than 20 sailors who have won ISAF Youth Worlds Medals.

DICKSON was the first ISAF Youth Worlds competitor to win successive gold medals but was by no means the last. In 1993 Sally CUTHBERT (GBR) (right) crewed her way to the gold with Storm NUTTAL in the Laser II girls event, a feat the pair repeated the following year. In 1995 CUTHBERT was back but this time sailing with her twin sister Jessie and it was gold again, and again in 1996 to bring Sally's total medal haul to four successive gold medals, a record that has once been equalled but not yet been beaten.

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Elise RECHICHI/Tessa PARKINSON
(AUS) on their way to gold in 2004
© Peter Bentley

The double-handed dinghy boys event has in recent years been dominated by Australian Nathan OUTTERIDGE who falls just short of CUTHBERT's record with three successive gold medals. First up with Ayden MENZIES in the 29er, OUTTERIDGE won gold in Canada in 2002. He returned with MENZIES in 2003 and sailed a 420 to victory in Portugal and then again in 2004 with crew Iain JENSEN. Fellow Australian Elise RECHICHI competing in the girls double-handed dinghy event, also won her first medal, a silver, in 2002. In 2003 returning with the same crew, Rayshele MARTIN, RECHICHI went one better to win the gold and then in 2004 with Tessa PARKINSON she successfully defended her title. RECHICHI and PARKINSON have now moved into the 470 and have claimed a second and a first at two ISAF Grade 1 events so far this year. Neither OUTTERIDGE or RECHICHI will be competing in Korea so now is the time for another nation to take over the top of the podium in the double-handed dinghy events.

Another member of the RECHICHI family will be going for gold in 2005 and that's Tim RECHICHI in the double-handed dinghy boys event and family success stories are a common feature of the ISAF Youth Worlds. Back in 1971, the CORMINBOEUF brothers took home the bronze medal in the 420 and Frantz-Otto and Margareta FALKENGREN (SWE) won silver in the double-handed dinghy event. Since then 17 medals in the double-handed events have gone to family teams and there are already some candidates for that success preparing for Korea. Rory and Kelly GODMAN (NZL) will be competing in the multihul open event as will TJ and Jerry TULLO (USA) and Ricky and Brennan ROBINSON (RSA) will be hoping for a medal in the boys double-handed dinghy event in the 420.

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Ben AINSLIE (GBR) at the 2004
Olympic Sailing Competition
© Clive Mason/Getty Images
The top medal winning nation at the 2004 Olympic Sailing Competition in Athens was Great Britain and it is perhaps no surprise then that of the nine sailors who received a medal, all but three have also taken home a medal from an ISAF Youth Worlds. In fact, of all the medal winners in 2004, 12 have been on the podium at an ISAF Youth Worlds. In 2000, the ISAF Youth Worlds took place in Sydney, Australia and in the single-handed dinghy girls event a young Siren SUNDBY (NOR) went home with a gold medal. Four years later, she was on top of the world on the podium at the Olympic Games. Are any of the medallists from the 2004 ISAF Youth Worlds in Poland going to repeat her feat? Or can any of them explode onto the world scene in the same emphatic way as Ben AINSLIE (GBR)? AINSLIE won his first ISAF Youth Worlds medal in 1994 with a silver in the Laser. The following year, 1995, he claimed the gold and just over a year later he wowed the world in a dramatic sail off against Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) to take the silver medal at the 1996 Olympic Regatta in Atlanta, USA. SCHEIDT of course, had also won an ISAF Youth World title, taking the gold in 1991 when the championship was held in Largs, Scotland.
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2005 Mistral World Champion
Blanca MANCHON (ESP) is going
for gold in Busan
© Menahem Kahana/AFP/
Getty Images

There are certainly some ISAF Youth Worlds medallists of recent years to keep an eye on in the run up to the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition in Beijing and several have already made their mark on the senior circuit. Jean-Baptise BERNAZ (FRA) will be competing in the single-handed boys event in the Laser and takes with him the 2005 Byte World Championship title which he claimed on 3 July, excellent preparation for his first ISAF Youth Worlds. In 2002, 15 year old Blanca MANCHON (ESP) won her first ISAF Youth Worlds medal, a silver in the windsurfer girls event, the following year she won the bronze. In 2004 she was the youngest sailor at the 2004 Olympic Sailing Competition at the age of 17 where she finished eighth and in May 2005 she wiped the floor with the other competitors at the ISAF Grade W Mistral World Championship - not a bad progression by anyone's standards and MANCHON will be back in Korea and aiming for that elusive gold medal to complete her set.

MANCHON is by no means the only Mistral sailor to claim successive medals at the ISAF Youth Worlds and the most successful in this event is without doubt Zofia KLEPACKA (POL). KLEPACKA first attended the ISAF Youth Worlds in 2001 and since then, she hasn't given anyone else a look in winning successive gold medals to equal Sally CUTHBERT's record in the double-handed dinghy event. Before KLEPACKA's reign began, two other Polish windsurfers had dominated proceedings, Agata BRYGOLA, now ranked at number 12 in the world, and Natalia KOSINSKA along with KLEPACKA have ensured that no other country but Poland has taken the ISAF Youth World Championship title in the girls windsurfing since 1998. Could 2005 be the dawning of a new era or will the Polish continue their dominance of windsurfing?

The Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2005 kicks off in Busan, Korea on 14 July and racing will commence on 16 July in seven events.

ISAF, Image: Triple ISAF Youth Worlds gold medallist Chris DICKSON (NZL) is now the skipper of BMW Oracle © Gilles Martin-Raget
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