Both of Ireland’s single-handed sailors have won Gold medals at the Allianz Youth Sailing World Championships in The Hague this afternoon (The Netherlands, Thursday 14th July 2022)
Eve McMahon and Rocco Wright, both from Howth Yacht Club delivered outstanding performances over their seven-races series that started on Sunday.
McMahon led her 55-strong field from day one, scoring all top three results for the week including four race wins. Her worst result of the week – a sixth place – only came in the final race today that was beset by light winds.
“It feels amazing – last year’s fourth place in Oman was so disappointing,” McMahon said shortly before the medal ceremony. “I’m so proud of Ireland to achieve Gold at the worlds and to make it a double in the same year is history-making.”
Wright made his mark in the Male single-handed event on his first ever appearance at a Youth Worlds by ending the penultimate day in second overall but only separated by tie-break from the leader.
“I tried not to think about the others around me and just sail my own race,” said Wright about keeping focussed at his first Youth Worlds appearance. “I didn’t expect to win so it’s all a bit mind-blowing really.”
A confident start in the final race saw the Dublin sailor beat Ole Schweckendiek by finishing fourth, one place ahead of his German rival which was enough to break the points tie as American Peter Barnard missed the podium with a 14th place.
“I was so surprised that Rocco displayed such maturity at such a young age (15) as he remained calm and executed the result,” said Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing’s Laser Coach. “Two Irish winning Gold in the ILCA6… I still can’t quite believe it; the work is paying off – all of us are on the right track.”
Both McMahon and Wright now switch their attention to Texas later this month where they compete in their ILCA6 class world championships, a stand-alone event that differs from this week’s championship where all disciplines are in competition.
McMahon is defending her 2021 world title in the class and this week’s result, coming on top of her European title win last week in Greece leaves her in a strong position. Along with Zbogar, she planned a Summer of three major events and a pathway to victory in each.
“The summer scheduling is a big load for these young athletes to take on,” said James O’Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing. “Understandably, for Eve it’s her last year sailing with her pals as a youth before starting at senior level so ending this way is very special.”
Meanwhile, Ireland’s third boat at the event featuring Emily Conan and Lauren O’Callaghan (Royal St. George YC) finished with their best day of two ninth places and improved to finish 15th overall in their 23-strong 29er female skiff event.