Alison Young has become the first British woman to win a World Championship title in a solo Olympic dinghy class.
Alison Young has written her name into the sailing history books by winning the Laser Radial World Championship in Mexico.
The Rio bound sailor claimed victory over the USA’s Paige Railey in Vallarta on 20 April, winning by a single point. This will give the 28-year-old a huge boost to her Olympic hopes.
Throughout the regatta, the overall lead changed daily, but Young held her nerve and took her third race win of the week in the 13th and final race. This secured her the title.
“It was pretty tense in that last race!” admitted Young, who finished fifth at her Olympic debut in the London 2012 Laser Radial class. “I managed to lead all the way round and I was lucky to have done enough overall.”
She continued: “I’ve sailed pretty consistently through the week and it’s been super-tight racing all the way through. Going into today, four or five people could have won the Championships, which is the nature of Laser racing. It’s really pleasing to have stayed consistent and kept executing towards what we’ve been working on, and for it all to come through in the end.”
Young says her focus is now on Rio. “It’s a great confidence boost, but ultimately this year is about the Games.”
“There’s still plenty of room for improvement and I know that come the Games there’s going to be seven or eight girls battling it out hard for the medals so it’ll be a case of executing well come that regatta,” concluded Young.
The Royal Yachting Association’s Olympic Manager, Stephen Park was full of praise for the Bewdley sailor. He said: “The Laser Radial is always an incredibly competitive class, and this week saw 13 races sailed which confirmed just that.”
Park praised Young’s “impressive performance”. “Alison has sailed a great series this week, winning three races, but more importantly she has been consistent throughout to get to the final day with an opportunity to win. Today it was all about execution under pressure and she delivered. As a result she has become World Champion, makes history, and sets herself up well for the final run into Rio,” he stated.
Young will have little time to celebrate her victory. She will by flying straight to France for the ISAF World Cup in Hyeres which starts on 27 April.
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