CAPE TOWN – Cape Town teenager Calvin Gibbs claimed the best result yet for a South African at the recent Youth World Sailing Championships since 1998 in Sanya, China.
Competing in the Laser Radial class, Gibbs finished in fourth place, level on points with third-placed Guido Gallinaro, from Italy and only just missed out on the bronze medal on countback.
The last time a South African produced such a promising result was when Gareth Blankenberg won a Youth World title almost 20 years ago.
Gibbs fought hard all the way, finishing off in style with a win in the last of the nine races.
Speaking from China, the talented young sailor said: “I think it’s gone really well. I’m very happy. This is my first Youth Worlds and I’ve done really well. Losing a tie-breaker to third place is a little bit disappointing but it is how it is and that’s just how the rocks fall.
Speaking about the conditions in China, the Wynberg Boys High student added: “The lightest we had was about six knots but it was usually between eight and 12 which is amazing – perfect conditions. I really enjoyed the event.
“I felt good the whole regatta. The second race where I got a 22nd, I made quite a big mistake and that’s what caused me to go really deep. I don’t want to say if I had done things differently I would have gotten a medal – it was great and I just put my head down and worked hard so I’m happy.”
Two-time Olympian Roger Hudson served as the coach for the young team of six South Africans competing in China and played an integral part of their training leading up to the event.
The South African team finished 27th out of 60 countries in the Nations Trophy, which was won by Italy.
African News Agency (ANA)