Thailand make history at Optimist World Championships


Thailand won the individual, girls, team racing and combined team results at the world under fifteen sailing championships which concluded in Langkawi, Malaysia on January 7 and which featured 231 young sailors from 55 nations. 

Following nine days of intense racing, encompassing both individual and team racing events, Noppakao Poonpat won the Optimist individual world title, following on from the earlier success of the Thai team who won the world team championship event on the 3rd of January.  The Thai team was under the supervision of Somkiat Poonpat (Noppakao’s father) as coach.

With winds of all varying strength being experienced, the final race saw Noppakao leading the fleet by a large margin in 18-20 knots gusts to make a convincing victory and leave no doubt as to who was the rightful champion.

History was made in that no other nation has won all the trophies up for contention in a world championship before.

The Optimist is the boat used for competition for under 15 year old sailors and incorporates one of the most competitive sailing fleets in the world, with tens of thousands of youths globally participating.

In the team event, Asian Games gold medalist Noppakao led the Thai lineup comprising Don Whitcraft, Jirawat Jadklay, Sarawut Phetsiri, and Totsapon Mahawichean.  In the end Thailand had three finishers in the top ten with Jirawat securing 5th and Sarawut in tenth.

The small handful of fans included former coaches of the Thai Optimist team, Rear Admiral Sunan Monthadpalin, Jaray Tipsuk and Sommai Nilju who went wild with the children’s parents on Thailand’s success.