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24 July 2002, 11:35 pm
Report - Day Four
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AUS 29er boys team. Photo: Peter Bentley

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship

Winds were light until the end of the racing day, with the Mistral races called off and racing in all other classes delayed until late in the afternoon at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2002.
The unofficial results from the first races Wednesday are:

In Boys 29er, Australia's Nathan Outteridge and Ayden Menzies finished first, the German dueo of Christopher Hoesch and Eric Hoger placed second and the British team came in third. Canada's Trevor McEwen and Chris Hewson came sixth.

In Girls 29er, Australia's Elise Rechichi and Rashele Martin continued their championship form and finished first, while Japan's Asami Taniguchi and Rie Hirakawa posted a second place finish and the American team of Molly Carapiet and Mallory McCollum placed third. Canada's team of Maddy Purves-Smith and Cassidy Richardson finished in fifth spot.

In Boys Laser, Ivan Kjakovic Gaspic of Croatia came in second with France's Jeremie Steyaert and Sweden's Filip Hansen finishing second and third respectively. Canada's Mike Leigh came in fifth, battling back from the rear of the fleet during the race.

In Girls Byte, France's Stayaert finished first, Canada's Jennifer Spalding continues to perform well, coming second over the line Tuesday's race and .

The Mistral class standings have not changed due to the cancellation of the races, but the race officials will try to start races two hours earlier with the first signal scheduled for 10:55 a.m.

In the Boys Mistral class, Byron Kokkalanis of Greece is in first, New Zealand's Thomas Ashley is second and Switzerland's Jan Schenck is in third. In Girls Mistral, Poland's Zofia Klepacka is first, Blanca Manchon of Spain and Wai Man Chan of Hong Kong are in second and third spots respectively.

Canadian team is showing its best showing in international competition yet. The team is in sixth position, while last year in France it finished 18th.

The brightest light on the Canadian team are from Jennifer Spalding, who is second over-all in Girls Byte. Canada's Mike Hayes is in 11th in the Boys Mistral, while Lisa McKenzie of Canada is ninth. Mike Leigh of Vancouver sits at sixth overall.

Canada's Mike Leigh finished fourth in the first race and seventh in the second, and is now sixth overall.

Canadian Yachting Association President Fiona Kidd credits a revamped youth development program and lots of hard work from the athletes and coaches for the improvement.

"The higher ranking confirms that the changes in our youth development program over the last few years were the right ones," said Kidd. "We've put a priority on increasing the number and quality of the clinics we hold across the country each year."

Kidd said that young Canadian racers who qualify for the youth team receive elite coaching to groom them for international competition. Of those, only the top performers in each class are chosen to represent Canada. The young racers at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2002 distinguished themselves by winning qualifying regattas in their classes.

"The performance of the Canadian squad is a credit to everyone involved with the national team," said Kidd.

Kidd explained that the CYA is putting a more consistent effort into their racing clinics, held across the country. Also, effort is focused on recruiting and developing top-notch coaches, who to run the clinics and supporting young athletes at championships, including national youth championships.

"We are developing depth in our pool of young athletes, which will make us more competitive in world championships like this one," said Kidd, who is also chairperson of the International Sailing Federation Youth Committee. "It will also strengthen our Olympic prospects."

"The fact that we are doing so well in our home country should make it easier to attract and keep talented sailors and coaches," she said. "The ultimate aim is to put Canada on top of the standings and involve more youth in this exciting sport."
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