Thai sailor takes top Asian honors at prestigious ISAF Youth Worlds


Thai national sailing champ Kamolwan Chanyim retained the title of top Asian sailor in her class for the fourth time at the International Sailing Federation’s Youth World Championship 2014 (ISAF Youth Worlds), held in the beautiful sun-drenched town of Tavira, Portugal, from July 12-18.

Competing in the Laser Radial Girls’ fleet, the young Thai athlete, 18, who will sail in the Asian Games in September, had stiff competition this year from Singapore’s Jillian Lee, a very talented young woman who only just missed podium spots in two other major youth regattas earlier this year.  Kamolwan entered the final race of the world’s most prestigious youth regatta only two points behind Jillian (the only other Asian in the top 15) and seven points short of a top ten position.

Kamolwan Chanyim was the top Asian sailor in the Laser Radial at the ISAF Youth Worlds. (Photo/Luis Fráguas ISAF Youth Worlds)Kamolwan Chanyim was the top Asian sailor in the Laser Radial at the ISAF Youth Worlds. (Photo/Luis Fráguas ISAF Youth Worlds)

Kamolwan’s consistency in the last three races – held in light, medium and higher winds – including a 13th place finish in the last race, did not bump her into the top ten, but it gave her the edge needed to retain the title of top Asian female Laser Radial sailor at the ISAF Youth Worlds for her fourth time since she first participated in 2010 as a 14 year old.  She finished 12th overall in the fleet of 47 sailors.  Jillian, meanwhile, had a difficult last race and dropped to 16th overall.  Among other Asians competing, Yuka Kishi of Japan was 25th overall and Alaiza Belmonte of the Philippines 31st, with sailors from Hong Kong, Malaysia, China, and India following.

Jirawat Jadklay and Dylan Whitcraft. (Photo/Malee Whitcraft)Jirawat Jadklay and Dylan Whitcraft. (Photo/Malee Whitcraft)

“I have improved a lot in the last year,” said Kamolwan, who returned to rejoin the Asian Games sailing team for training in Sattahip.  “Now, after racing, I can analyze my performance and know what I need to improve.  In Tavira, it was very important to remain alert to wind shifts; to really use the waves on downwind legs; to have confident starts; and to know where the competition is.”

Jadklay and Whitcraft sailed their 29er Open Skiff to 28th place overall. (Photo/Malee Whitcraft)Jadklay and Whitcraft sailed their 29er Open Skiff to 28th place overall. (Photo/Malee Whitcraft)

In early July, the young Thai also took part in a seven day Olympic coaching camp under the ISAF Emerging Nations Program (ENP), sponsored by the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation, which will host the first 2016 Olympic qualifier later this year in Santander, Spain.  She credited her growth to support from Kingdom Property which has enabled her to enter several high performance international regattas and coaching programs, including the ENP, over the past year.  Kingdom Property is developing the Southpoint Pattaya condominium project just around the corner from the country’s top international sailing venue, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club.

Thailand also had a team in the 29er Open Skiff class.  Three-time Optimist national sailing team member Jirawat Jadklay teamed up with Dylan Whitcraft of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya to take on competitors from around the world in the fast moving boat class, which is new to Thailand.  They finished 28th overall.

The top ranked ISAF Youth Worlds, which is limited to those under 19 years of age as of the end of the year, welcomed a record-breaking 367 athletes from 67 countries this year.  Taking the Nations Trophy for the most medals was Spain, which also won the gold in both the Laser Radial Boys and Girls fleets.