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18

Séafra Guilfoyle from Crosshaven in Co, Cork has this afternoon (18th July) won Silver at the 44th ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships in Portugal. The 18 year old member of the Irish Sailing Association’s Academy competed against 56 other nations in the boys Laser Radial class to become the third ever Irish sailor to medal at this prestigious event.

Commenting on his triumph Séafra enthused “This morning I knew I had a medal secured so I had nothing to lose. My plan with my coach Russell was to sail as fast as I could and I went out there and won the race. I nearly had gold but in the last minute Joel moved up to finish fourth. I tried my best and I’m still thrilled with the result. I’ve the Laser Radial Worlds next week in Poland so hopefully I can medal there too“.

Racing began on Monday (14th July) in Tavira and Séafra was quick to set the tone for the week, winning the first race and propelling himself to the top of the leader board. During the first three days of the championship Séafra remained untouched in pole position after six races. Then, dramatically, a 16th in yesterday’s penultimate race saw the teenager slip to third for the first time. However Séafra had already generated enough of a points lead to guarantee himself a spot on the podium.

The final deciding race began this afternoon shortly before 1pm in 11 knots. Séafra, overnight leader Joel Rodriguez Perez from Spain and Ryan Lo from Singapore – separated by only seven points - were all in contention for Gold. A battle between the trio unfurled off the Algarve coast but it was Séafra who came out on top to win the final race. Rodriguez Perez finished fourth putting him four points clear of Guilfoyle to claim the Gold.

ISA Performance Director James O’Callaghan remarked “Séafra has sailed a fantastic event this week. To win the final race and claim Silver makes the achievement even sweeter. He has always been cool under pressure”. 

Séafra has become the second Irish sailor to medal in as many years, clear evidence that the Irish Sports Council’s investment in the Irish Sailing Association is delivering a great return. In 2012 Séafra’s former ISA Academy teammate Finn Lynch won Silver, prior to which only a Bronze had been claimed by duo Ciara Peelo and Laura Dillon in 1996. Finn is now sailing full-time and will compete at the Olympic qualifiers in September with the 2016 Rio Olympics firmly in his sights.

The ISAF Youth Worlds is widely recognised as being the equivalent of the youth sailing Olympics. Only one sailor is allowed to compete per nation in each class with Séafra having qualified to represent Ireland earlier this year. The majority of the world’s top Olympic medallists finished off their youth careers with a medal at this event. 

Team IRL Results
Boys Laser Radial: Seafra Guilfoyle - 2nd
Girls Laser Radial: Sarah Eames - 28th 
Boys 420: Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove - 20th 
Girls 420: Lizzy & Cara McDowell - 16th 
29er: Sean Donnelly & Patrick Crosbie - 22nd

For full results see http://www.isafyouthworlds.com/results/index.php

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More than 360 sailors from 67 nations in five classes across eight events began racing this morning at the ISAF Youth Worlds in the Algarve. Among them are eight Irish sailors fro the ISA Academy. 

Seafra Guilfoyle got Team IRL off to a good start with a 1, 5 putting him top of the Laser Radial boy's leader board. Sarah Eames is also top 10 in in the girl's Radial. 

Also representing Ireland are Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove and Lizzy & Cara McDowell in the 420 as well as Sean Donnelly & Patrick Crosbie in the 29er.

For full results see http://www.isafyouthworlds.com/results/index.php

For live results follow @ISAPerformance on Twitter
 
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