by Daniel Smith
Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus is one of the famous graduates from the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship and the 2013 edition is a special one for him to look at with the event taking place in his home-nation.
Pavlos Kontides (CYP) in action at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
The Cyprus Sports Organization Sailing Centre in Limassol, Cyprus will play host to the 2013 Sail First ISAF Youth Worlds welcoming over 350 of the best young sailors from 61 nations from 13-20 July.
The event could not come at a better time with the sport at the forefront of peoples’ minds after Kontides was thrown into the limelight during the London 2012 Olympic Games when the 23-year-old became Cyprus’ first ever Olympic medallist, taking silver in the Laser.
Now the town that developed Kontides’ talent can see the next generation of Olympic sailors working their way up the ranks.
'My home town Limassol, my home waters where I learnt how to sail and where I trained for many years. It will be really amazing and I hope this will bring many more people in Cyprus to the sport,' said Kontides.
'In Cyprus, after my success, people want to know how they can start sailing and when they see the sea full of hundreds of sailors they will think it is a fascinating sport. That is the aim at the end of the day to get more people into sailing.
'I see the Sail First ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship as an Olympiad for the young sailors. Sailors and event guests will experience sailing and will get a taste of the bigger games - the Olympiad - as the event format is like an Olympiad.
'I would like to wish all Cypriot sailors the very best and may they make us all proud.'
Kontides is a five-time participant at the ISAF Youth Worlds and a two-time winner having taken gold in the 2007 and 2008 events in Kingston, Canada and Aarhus, Denmark.
The Cypriot has fond memories of the event and set him on the road he continues to travel today, 'The first time I was at the ISAF Youth Worlds was in Poland in 2004 and I was only 14-years-old,' said Kontides. 'It gave me the first push and chance to see how the international competition was out there. I still see some of the faces today, I remember back then Tonci Stipanovic, who I train with now, finished second and Nick Thompson was first.
'Through the years you always see familiar faces. They were at the top back then and they are now at the top. It’s the first step to the international sailing world.'
The list of achievements of previous ISAF Youth Worlds winners includes Volvo Ocean Race, America’s Cup and Olympic medals and Kontides doesn’t seen this trend ending anytime soon, 'The winners at the Youth Worlds are always very good after four years or less they can go on and win medals at the Olympics.
'It has been done in the past and it’s been done in the present and it will be done in the future so for sure you can expect to see the next Pavlos Kontides coming through the Youth Worlds.'
Racing at the 2013 Sail First ISAF Youth Worlds commences on 15 July through to 19 July in eight classes.
ISAF Youth Worlds website