Top Class Competition
However, MANCHON knows better than to expect an easy ride on Suyong Bay. Despite the loss of KLEPACKA, the Mistral girls fleet sees 13 sailors make up one of the strongest fleets ever at the ISAF Youth Worlds. Germany's Wiebke SRADNICK came fourth in Gdynia last year and will be looking to better that result this year. The young German is another precious talent and like MANCHON has had a fantastic 2005, finishing
Many of the talents who
Anne Sophie LE PAGE (FRA) won the battle for honours behind KLEPACKA last year and returns knowing she has already beaten many of the rivals who will be lining up to face her. She and SRADNICK were the only competitors to score a bullet besides KLEPACKA in last year's competition, although SRADNICK's win came in the final race when the Polish sailor did not compete. LE PAGE followed up her silver medal last year with third place at the Mistral Youth World Championship.
Israel's Maayan DAVIDOVICH came in fifth last year after an impressive second half of the series. 2004 also saw her finish eighth in the Mistral Youth Worlds and come 22nd in the Mistral Worlds in Mondello. Alisha KAWALLA (AUS) and Catarina FREITAS (BRA) also make a return to the ISAF Youth Worlds having finished eighth and eleventh respectively last year. The Italian windsurfing team have been one of the most consistent success stories at recent Championships and they return with sailors in both fleets.
Defending Champions Move On
The absence of KLEPACKA is mirrored in the boys' event as 2004 gold medallist, Kamil LEWANDOWSKI, is replaced in the Polish team by Lukasz GRODZICKI. Last year LEWANDOWSKI ran away with the series after scoring five bullets in a row. Thanks to a recent confidence boosting third place in Kiel, GRODZICKI will be in Busan hoping for a similar result. He and BIALECKA will also line up at the start on Suyong Bay knowing that no nation has won more Mistral gold medals than Poland.
Juan Manuel MORENO (ESP) could only manage 14th last year but has had some of the most impressive results of the men's fleet this year, finishing 21st at the Mistral Worlds and second at the European Youth Championship. Nimrod MASHIAH (ISR) also looks set to be at the forefront of the challenge for gold. The Israeli took silver last year after finishing second in the final race. However MORENO got the better of him in Mondello, with MASHIAH fourth in the European Youth Championship.
Australia have a great record in the Mistral events having won eight gold medals. Corey PLANT (AUS) will be aiming to add to that total by improving on his sixth place of last year. By contrast, the windsurfing events have been somewhat of a stumbling block for the British Youth team, with only one gold and four bronze medals won. This year Peter BIRD and Beth WILLIAMSON have the opportunity to start changing the record for the better.
The Asian Challenge
|Hong Kong may have led
the Asian challenge in the
ISAF Youth Worlds but
last year it was China who
secured the Olympic medal
© Clive Mason/Getty Images
They will not be presenting the only Asian challenge in Busan. Windsurfers from China, Japan and the home nation, Korea will be lining up in the Mistral boys fleet, whilst the entrants from China, Korea and Hong Kong mean almost a quarter of the Mistral girls' fleet will be representing an Asian nation.
The Old And The New
In only their sixth ever ISAF Youth Worlds appearance, the Seychelles will be represented in the Mistral boys fleet. Bulgaria also join the line up in the boys' event, in their fourth overall, and third straight time at the Championship. Also represented in the windsurfer boys are Cyprus, who are attending their third ISAF Youth Worlds. That is one less than Brazil's Fernando PASQUALIM who first raced the Mistral in Lunenberg, Canada in 2002. He has spent time training with Brazil's two time ISAF Youth Worlds Champion and 2004 Olympic Games fourth place finisher, Ricardo SANTOS (BRA), who has also given the benefit of his considerable experience to Brazil's Mistral girls' entrant, FREITAS.
The young windsurfers in Busan will also have the opportunity to sail the new Olympic windsurfing equipment, the Neil Pryde RS:X. As well as getting a chance to familiarize themselves with the new board, the ISAF Youth Worlds' windsurfers will also help provide rig evaluation and fill in a questionnaire on the board. The planned introduction of the RS:X at the ISAF Youth Worlds is for the 2006 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in Weymouth, Great Britain.
The two Mistral fleets in Busan look set to provide some spectacular racing with one of windsurfing's hottest properties, MANCHON, aiming to win the ISAF Youth Worlds gold medal that has so far eluded her. In the men's fleet the competition appears wide open with a line up of experienced ISAF Youth Worlds' campaigners and Championship debutants making for an intriguing mix.