Katie heading for the ISAF World Games
Sailing: SUFFOLK teenager Katie Archer will represent Great Britain in the ISAF World Games in Marseilles which start tomorrow.In one of the world's biggest sailing events, Katie, 19, will be sailing laser radials after taking a break from her first year studying medicine at Southampton University.
SUFFOLK teenager Katie Archer will represent Great Britain in the ISAF World Games in Marseilles which start tomorrow.
In one of the world's biggest sailing events, Katie, 19, will be sailing laser radials after taking a break from her first year studying medicine at Southampton University.
Katie is originally from Woodbridge and is a member of Waldringfield Sailing Club and Felixstowe Ferry Sailing Club. This will be her first time competing at this event and she is hopeful of doing well in a field expected to contain the best sailors from around the world.
"You always go out with winning in mind, but we will have to see how it goes," said Katie. "Not much is expected of me as I haven't competed in this category for a while and I am probably going to be the youngest person in the British squad. I have previously been competing as the top girl in youth races but there is always pressure when you are representing your country. I've been sailing against adults, even at youth level and it can be hard but I have grown up in sailing and it is quite good fun."
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Katie has been sailing since she was eight and first represented Great Britain in 1998 in the laser radial class at the Youth World Championships in La Rachelle, France. She is rated as one of the best young talents in the country and each nation is only allowed to take two competitors for each event. She finished second behind Nicky Muller in the qualifying race which took place in Sidmouth and admits there is a bit of healthy competition between the two British representatives.
Katie said: "I've sailed a bit against Nicky and if we are vying for first and second or even 30th and 31st there will be a little bit of rivalry between us both."
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Katie won the laser radials event in the girls youth World Championships held in Turkey in 2000 as she turned 18 and hopes to represent Great Britain in the Olympics taking place in Athens in 2004. However, her university studies could affect her chances in doing this.
She said: "Doing a course like medicine is pretty full on and it will be hard to keep up to the highest level of sailing while I'm at uni. Maybe I won't have enough time to do other things."
Despite spending a large part of her time studying Katie says she is becoming a better sailor all the time and is ready for the tough event.
"My starting has improved greatly and that has sometimes been weak and I have learnt different things at university such as team racing. Since I came back I have been out at Felixstowe Ferry every day with my brother and I have been going to the gym four times a week to improve my fitness. People think we are just sitting or lying on our sides but the races last for about an hour and if it is windy then it can be so demanding physically. You have to use your weight and throw your shoulders out to ride the waves while your arms end up tired and your whole body feels exhausted."
The competition should be very exciting as Marseilles is known for its tricky conditions though this doesn't worry ex-Woodbridge School student Katie.
"It is expected to be windy but I'm not too bothered about that and I think I can go fast enough. I normally like those type of conditions and it can be very frustrating when there is only a light wind."
There will be more than 800 athletes taking part in the ISAF World Games with 64 countries represented and the Laser Radials are one of ten categories at the event.
This is the third ISAF World games held on a four-yearly basis and is the first to be sailed in the Mediterranean Sea. The tournament is scheduled to run every two years after the latest Olympics and the first World Games was held in La Rochelle, France in 1994 with the most recent one being in Dubai in 1998.
The opening ceremony starts at 4pm tomorrow with the first day's competitive sailing on Tuesday, July 2 with four races per event per day held until Wednesday, July 10.