BRITISH YOUTH TEAM SHOW WORLD POTENTIAL
The 2000 Volvo Youth ISAF World Championships, held in Sydney harbour over
Christmas, not only used the same sailing venue as the summer games but also
shared many of the characteristics of the event which is in fact dubbed the
'Youth Olympics'. Like the Olympics only one representative in each class from
each country can attend with a team of boy and girl windsurfers, single and
double handed dinghy classes. The competitors are all based in an Olympic Village
style venue with communal eating halls and access to the venue only for those
The importance of success at these championships couple with the rarefied atmosphere
created by this Youth Olympics feel, make this a real pressure pot event for
the competitors but the rewards as well as the stakes are high and the event
is a great indicator of future Olympic potential with the likes of Nick Dempsey
winning bronze at the '98 Youth worlds and going onto represent us in Sydney
18 months later! The importance of 'team' is also paramount at these championships
with individuals points contributing to the overall score and Britains 4th place
standing was a big improvement over last year's position.
Although neither GB windsurfers reached medal level at the 2000 Volvo Youth
Sailing ISAF World Championships in Sydney at the beginning of January, both
Catherine Potter (seventh overall) and Oliver Woodcock (twelfth overall) proved
they are made of the talent and determination that produces future youth world
and Olympic medallists
The Volvo RYA GB Team returned to Great Britain with one Gold medal, won by
the Rawlinson sisters in the 420 Dinghy class, but Catherine Potter, at 16,
one of the youngest members stood out and proved, with some very respectable
individual race results, that she has the natural talent and drive to achieve
more in the coming years especially as this was her first attempt and being
only 16 she will have two more opportunities to get on the podium.
Although Catherine believes her seventh overall "was about right and perhaps
underestimated the standard of the competition," she knows what she has
to do to make the 2001 championships in Brittany and bring back a youth world
medal, RYA Mistral coach Dave Thompson was pleased with her progress and competitive
spirit, especially in the demanding and tricky conditions of Sydney Harbour.
"I need to spend a lot more time on the water and bring up my light wind
speed," explained Catherine on her goals for 2001. She will undoubtedly
be one of the long-term beneficiaries of the lottery funded World Class Potential
that lifted Nick Dempsey from a similar position three years ago to being an
outside hope for an Olympic medal in Sydney last season.
The next world championships are in France this July (2-12) with two Mistral
slots being decided by a three event qualification series at Whitwell, Lllandudno
and Weymouth in April and May. Please contact Kath Newton at the RYA for further
information on 02380 627457.