Ban­ham to face world’s best

Sail­ing

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Sport -

Ross Ban­ham is rel­ish­ing the prospect of rac­ing against the best young sailors at the first ISAF Youth World Cham­pi­onships in Malaysia in De­cem­ber.

The Bethers­den teenager, a pupil at Bethany School in Goud­hurst, will be part­nered by team-mate Max Clapp, rep­re­sent­ing Bri­tain in the 420 class.

They are among a team of 12 for the eight-day cham­pi­onships – which run from De­cem­ber 27 to Ja­nu­ray 3 – hav­ing won the in­vi­ta­tion only tri­als at Hayling Is­land last month.

Ban­ham, 16, said: “I’m ex­cited be­cause it is an event we have never been to be­fore and it’s the best sailors from ev­ery na­tion, which makes it even more ex­cit­ing be­cause the rac­ing will be so hard but fun at the same time.”

“We will be com­pet­ing against the best of the best. Only one boat from each coun­try ranked in the top 34 in the world have been in­vited to fight it out for the most cov­eted un­der-19 ti­tle.”

Suc­cess would see Ban­ham in good com­pany, with pre­vi­ous Bri­tish win­ners in­clud­ing Olympic cham­pi­ons Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy.

Team leader Oli Woodcock be­lieves Ban­ham and his Great Bri­tain team-mates will fare well.

He said: “We have a strong team head­ing out to Malaysia with a lot of fresh faces.

“We are go­ing to work with all of the sailors to cre­ate tai­lored train­ing plans we need to make sure they work around their school com­mit­ments.

“We will then meet once as a team in De­cem­ber. We have a good chance of medals in a lot of the classes and I’m look­ing for­ward to work­ing with them all over the next few months.”

The suc­cess in Hamp­shire came just days af­ter the pair won the UK Na­tional and un­der-17 ti­tles at the 420 Cham­pi­onships in Re­stronguet near Fal­mouth in Cornwall, adding that to the UK Youth ti­tle won ear­lier this year.

Mean­while, Ban­ham and Clapp were part of the GB1 team who fin­ished fourth in the 420 World Team Cham­pi­onships at Lake Garda in Italy last week.

They were pipped to the bronze by Por­tu­gal on the points tie-break rule, af­ter the third place race-off was can­celled due to weather con­di­tions and time lim­its placed on the event fol­low­ing de­lays ear­lier in the rac­ing sched­ule.

Pic­ture: Paul Wyeth/RYA

Ross Ban­ham, right, in ac­tion at the Youth Worlds se­lec­tion event

Keir Star­ley

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