Racing at the 2014 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Tavira, Portugal came to a thrilling conclusion as the medals across the eight events were decided.
A beautiful westerly breeze came through early in the afternoon allowing three RS:X Boys and Girls races. Racing commenced at 12:00 local time in a breeze that slowly built to 10-13 knots as the day progressed.
Russia’s Stefaniya Elfutina overthrew China’s Shi Hongmei on the final day to claim a hard fought gold medal.
It all boiled down to the final race and a nervy Elfutina was unsure whether or not she had won ashore as she explained her day, “The first race was not good, in fact it was really bad, I was fifth but the next one was better and I was second. Before the last race I was second and had three points to first place and I was nervous a little bit because everybody is strong and I said okay, do what you can, and I was first and she [Hongmei] was fifth or sixth.”
“It’s amazing but for now we should wait for the results because I’m afraid. When I see the results that Russia’s first then yes, that’s okay to celebrate.”
When the results were published a scream of joy from Elfutina echoed across the boat park and beyond. She added, “I feel happy. It’s all such a good feeling and I don’t believe it yet. It’s like a dream and it’s my second World Championship win and I love it.”
“This is one more step to my dream of being at the Olympics and being in the adult world.”
“I want to say thanks to all of the girls and organization because it was a really good competition. We’ve had a great championship.”
The Chinese sailor came away with silver and Italy’s Marta Maggetti remained in bronze medal position after a 2-3-4 scoreline.
Overnight RS:X Boys leader Yael Paz (ISR) held on to take gold after a nervy finish. With three races sailed Mattia Camboni (ITA) reduced Paz’s four point lead to one in Race 10 with a bullet. One place separated them in Race 11 with two points the difference going into the final showdown.
The mathematics had been done before Race 12 and Camboni needed to put two places between him and Paz. As Camboni stormed through to take the final race bullet he quickly turned to view the action behind him and was left downhearted when the Israeli crossed in second to seal gold.
For Paz it was jubilation, “It’s a great feeling and it was a really tough race and really tight at the end but I’m so glad I won.”
“It was really tricky racing with strong competition. I won by one point in the end so it was really tight. It was really hard and before every start I had to think about what I had to. It was massive pressure but in the end I managed to deal with it and I feel great and can’t wait to talk to everyone back home.”
Camboni took six race wins across the 12 race series but ultimately it was Paz’s consistency that handed him gold with the Italian settling for silver.
Poland’s Radoslaw Furmanski picked up bronze.
Text/Photos/Videos – ISAF