RYA National Techno Squad sailor Kieran Martin has landed Britain’s first ever Youth Olympic windsurfing medal for Team GB after securing bronze in today’s (25 August) final medal race at the inaugural event, Singapore.
With just one point separating Martin, who was in third place, and Korean rival Chaneui Kim in fourth, the 15-year-old from Cheadle, Staffordshire had a battle on his hands going into this morning’s race needing to beat Kim or finish just one place behind him to make it onto the podium. But holding his nerve and sailing a fantastic last race the former under-15 World Champion pulled it right out of the bag to hold off the Korean and win the race.
He comments: “I went out their knowing I had to beat the Korean. I got a good start and just stayed with him so I could make sure I stayed ahead of him. He was pushing me for the first half of the race but the second half he dropped back a little and I was able to get quite far ahead. It was pretty close but I just did all the right stuff and it was great to come away having won.”
He continued: “I wasn’t sure whether I was going to be able to medal at such a different event. It feels really special to have won one of the first ever Youth Olympic medals and it felt amazing going up onto the podium with everyone watching you, I felt really proud.”
In winning the medal race Martin came close to knocking Hong Kong’s eventual silver medallist Chun Cheng off track finishing one point behind him. RYA National Junior Squad Coach Oli Woodcock sung his young charge’s praises.
“Today Kieran did everything I asked of him, he worked as hard as he could, he nailed his start and pretty much controlled the race as soon as he got in front. He sailed fast downwind and did everything he could to try and get up to second and he nearly did it!” he said.
“It’s been tough out here – we’ve had lots of different conditions, really light winds from about 6 knots and as well as some stronger winds coming through. It was frustrating though – lightening accompanied the strong winds which meant we couldn’t race in the guys best conditions.”
Martin’s windsurfing team mate Jade Rogers, also finished the event on a high posting her best result of the competition in the final race. She notched up a seventh to land up in eleventh place overall.
The 15-year-old also from Cheadle commented: “In my process goals I did really well this week getting good light wind starts but I was just lacking on a bit of speed – that was my main failing point really. I definitely know what I need to work on for next time.”
Meeting so many different athletes both from Great Britain and other counties as well as being part of such a large scale event, has had a sizable effect on Martin and Rogers attitudes towards their sailing careers.
Rogers continued: “Representing Team GB out here has been a great experience – being part of such a huge competition with so many other nationalities has been amazing. Peoples backgrounds are so different but we all do the same sports it’s quite strange really! Knowing I’ve actually been a real part of the event has made me feel pretty proud.”
Woodcock added: “It’s been great for Jade and Kieran to meet lots of other people in the same boat as them who have had to train just as hard and make similar sacrifices. Jade has vowed to train harder and longer after finding out how many hours some of the other athletes do!”
“I think they have come away fully motivated to train harder and it’s definitely inspired them to aim for the 2016 and more realistically 2020 games as Olympic hopefuls.”
The pair will celebrate Team GB’s achievements during the event at what promises to be a spectacular closing ceremony tomorrow before they return home to the UK on Saturday.
For more information about the games visit www.singapore2010.sg