Young Leung graduates with high marks
Hong Kong's Leung Ho-tsun bid farewell to his career as a junior on a high note by winning the RS:X Youth World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand, yesterday.
The 19-year-old finished second in the medal race to claim the boys' overall title after overnight leader Piotr Myszkowski of Poland failed to make the top three. Myszkowski still managed a silver medal, while Thiseas Kambas of Greece came third.
In the girls' category, Chan Hei-man also did Hong Kong proud when she finished runner-up, her first podium finish in three youth world championships. Lara Linares of Italy claimed her fourth youth world title with a comfortable win in the medal race, while third place went to Maja Dziarnowska of Poland.
Chan still has one year left in the junior ranks and has set her sights on becoming the next world champion in Greece in August.
Head coach Rene Appel was delighted to see Leung win the world title in the last event as a junior.
'Winning this title is a major breakthrough for the young sailor who has committed to full time training,' said Appel.
'He has improved tremendously in the last few months, and is now aiming to move up the senior ranks.
'These results are also evidence that the windsurfing association has a great development programme and a great youth programme in co-operation with the Sports Institute.
'Just as important is that most of these young athletes then go on to represent and achieve excellent results in the Asian Games and Olympic Games.'
Appel also praised assistant coaches Chan Hoi-suen and Yu Wing-ho, who was the last Hong Kong boardsailor to win at the youth world championships in 2005, for their part in preparing the team.
Sailing in a 15-18 knot breeze, Chang Hao of Taiwan and Michalis Malekkides of Cyprus were leading at the start of the medal race, with Leung in the mix as were Kambas and Jacek Piasecki of Poland.
Then Kambas moved up to third just behind Leung and began to threaten.
Kambas, though, ran into a plastic bag and the pressure was off Leung, who knew second place would be enough to clinch the title.