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Britain’s kite girls lead the way at Sailing World Championships




Five-medal haul in The Hague


Britain showed its strength in the Olympics’ most exciting new sailing discipline, bringing home two world championship medals in the burgeoning Formula Kite class.

Ellie Aldridge and Lily Young took silver and bronze respectively in the women’s kite, which will make its Olympic debut at Paris 2024.

The stellar results helped Britain to finish the regatta as the only nation to win five medals at the 10-day regatta in Dutch city of The Hague.

Silvers also went to Micky Beckett in the men’s dinghy and John Gimson and Anna Burnet in the mixed multihull, and a bronze for Emma Wilson in the women’s windsurfing.

Aldridge is no stranger to the podium, having won silver at the Paris 2024 test event last month, but it was a breakthrough result for Young.

“I’ve worked so hard this year for this result, but I still can’t quite believe I’ve got a medal,” said Young, 24, from Weymouth, Dorset. “I knew I could do it, but to actually win a bronze is amazing. I’m so happy.”

The finale of the kite competition saw Young and Aldridge joined by fellow Brit Katie Dabson and France’s Lauriane Nolot, the eventual winner. Maddy Anderson was knocked out in the semi-finals, finishing ninth overall.

 “To have four Brits in the top ten, and three in the final fighting it out for the world title is insane,” added Aldridge, 28, from Poole. “It’s so nice to know we’ve got the strongest squad in the world, pushing each other hard for the Games next summer.”

Medals and more

Silvers for Gimson and Burnet, and a bronze for Wilson, add to the medals they won at the Paris 2024 test event in Marseille last month.

Alongside the medal success Great Britain qualified for Olympic berths in eight of the ten Olympic classes, with only the mixed dinghy and men’s kite spots still to secure.

Freya Black and Saskia Tidey came home fifth in the 49erFX, while James Petes and Fynn Sterritt were sixth in the 49er. Sam Sills finished fifth in the men’s iQFOiL.

Hannah Snellgrove missed out on the ILCA 6 medal race by a single point, but her 11th overall was enough to secure a Paris 2024 nation spot in the class.

In the para competition, held at nearby Braassemermeer Lake, Rory McKinna narrowly missed the podium in the men’s Hansa 303 class while Adam Billany and Emily Wright were 11th in the RS Venture Connect.

Mark Robinson, RYA Performance Director, said: “It’s been a great two weeks in The Hague with the local organisers pulling together a very large and complicated event with some trying wind and tide conditions.

“Our key aim was to qualify for Paris 2024 in as many classes as possible and we have achieved that in eight with opportunities to qualify the other two in the coming months after narrowly missing out at this event.

“It’s been great to see the team’s hard work coming together towards this aim and our performances in the new board classes, particularly the kite women where we had three out of four sailors in the final.

“Our focus now turns towards the Kite Europeans on home waters in Portsmouth next month where Connor Bainbridge will be aiming to qualify Britain for Paris 2024, while the classes in which we have already qualified will be turning their attention towards achieving Gold medal performances in Marseille next July.”

Full results from the Sailing World Championships can be found here.

About the author

Will Carson