470 Junior World Championships–Skandia Team GBR claim podium positions
by Matt Carter on 30 Jul 2011
470 Junior World Championships started on Wednesday 20th July, in Medemblik, The Netherlands and concluded on Thursday 28th July.
Anna Burnet and Flora Stewart - 470 Junior World Championships 2011 Thom Touw © http://www.thomtouw.com
Skandia Team GBR sailors have claimed podium positions in both the men’s and women’s Championships.
Anna Burnet and Flora Stewart, and Phil Sparks and David Kohler took silver and bronze respectively on the final day of the Junior Olympic classes event with both sets of crews indicating their potential for future Olympic success as they posted race wins in the final medal race of the week long regatta.
Sparks and Kohler had a fantastic start to the regatta, making the most of the strong breeze and ending the qualifiers in first place by a single point difference. However, the British pair dropped out of gold medal contention as the breeze vanished towards the end of the regatta and their chances of making the podium looked slim.
Yet after posting a credible 20th at the 470 European Championships in Helsinki two weeks ago amongst the world’s best senior sailors, the young GBR crew’s experience paid dividends come the medal race as they crossed the finish line unchallenged to climb back up the table to clinch bronze.
Sparks, 2009 ISAF Youth Worlds Gold medallist and Skandia Team GBR Development squad member, commented: 'We did everything we could to win the final race and it was great to cross the finish line in first place.
'Yes I guess we are slightly disappointed not to have won gold as we were leading the majority of the regatta but we are still really happy with the bronze. We have only been sailing together for four weeks so to win a medal this early on in our partnership is a great achievement.'
Kohler added: 'It was good to have a bit of variety with 25-30 knots in the beginning, then to change down a gear to around five knots towards the end of the regatta was a bit of a shock!
'We were given a black and yellow flag in one of the earlier races which was not great. We had to be a lot more careful on the start line, and had to take fewer risks which is always the case when entering the medal race. This is something which we will definitely learn from and take forward into our next event,' concluded Sparks.
The female 470 crew of Anna Burnet and Flora Stewart, both members of Skandia Team GBR’s Transitional squad, also finished in style and mirrored the performance of their British counterparts in the medal race: 'Winning the medal race was amazing. It was a really good way to finish the regatta and we are over the moon to finish with a silver medal,' said Burnet.
'These are some great results from Skandia Team GBR’s young talents, and it was a fantastic event for our new 470 teams on the female side to cut their teeth. It’s really encouraging to see them challenging for medals,' said RYA Olympic Development Squad Manager Barrie Edgington.
'On the men’s side, Phil and David I’m sure will have been disappointed to have lost their earlier lead in the Championships, but the fought back well and closed out the medal race to take bronze in what was a great early test for this new partnership.'
For the latest news and information from the British Sailing Team, visit Skandia Team GBR 470 Junior World Championships website
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