Hong Kong has produced another world champion. Eighteen-year-old Chan King-yin has followed in the footsteps of windsurfing queen Lee Lai-shan and Olympian Ho Chi-ho by winning his own world title - the IMCO World Youth Championships in Thailand. 'I'm very happy because I only expected to finish in the top five. This event was so tough,' a delighted Chan said yesterday. Olympic gold medallist San San is still the IMCO world champion, while Ho won Hong Kong's first world youth title in Finland in 1999. Now Chan has joined the club. He said the Pattaya event, which is organised by the International Mistral Class Organisation (IMCO), was considered tougher than the International Sailing Federation World Youth Championships (ISAF), where Ho claimed his youth title. IMCO has no entry limits, while ISAF allows only one male and one female from each country to take part. Both events are held every year. Chan, who won a bronze at the ISAF event last year but was ineligible this year, held off challenges from more than 60 competitors, including two-time defending ISAF world youth champion Van Dijk Joeri, of the Netherlands, who came second. Chan's teammate, Cheng Kwok-fai, finished seventh in the same category, while 16-year-old Wong Yu-him won a bronze in the junior boys' category. Assistant coach Sam Wong Tak-sum, who led the squad to Pattaya, said: 'Chan has a medal chance at next year's Asian Games. But it depends on how he improves in the next 12 months and whether he can get used to racing in the senior ranks. He still lacks experience to do well against the senior sailors.' Chan, who was only learning the basics as a 13-year-old in the summer of 1996 when San San put Hong Kong on the Olympic map in Atlanta, said her achievements had inspired him. 'When I joined the windsurfing association's summer programme in 1996, I did it for fun. I couldn't even swim. But after San San won the Olympic title, I realised I might be able to get good results if I made the effort. 'I trained with San San a lot and I was amazed by her hard work. I realised hard work was the number-one criterion for winning titles,' said Chan, who now joins the senior ranks. Chan, who finished 39th in the senior World Championships in Athens in August, said his familiarity with the Pattaya venue gave him a big advantage over his European rivals and he was looking forward to doing well at the 2002 senior World Championships at the same venue in November. He had been ranked third going into the last day, but a win and a second helped him edge out overnight leader Van Dijk. Chan completed the six-race series with 10 penalty points, three fewer than the Dutchman. Greece's Bryon Kakalanis came third. 'I know the venue well because it was the fifth time I have competed there. I competed in the Siam Cup in the past four years. Also, we arrived there two weeks before the event, while others only got there two days beforehand,' said Chan. Hong Kong head coach Rene Appel said Chan's win was another gold star for their development programme. 'We've proved we have a consistent flow of talent coming through from youth to elite levels, thanks to our system that began 10 years ago,' he said.