Windsurfing Competition Concludes at Youth Olympic Games

Margot Samson racing in Singapore

(reprinted from http://youtholympicgames.teamusa.org ) SINGAPORE – U.S. windsurfers Margot Samson (Belleaire, Fla.) and Ian Stokes (Norfolk, Va.) wrapped up competition at the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore on Wednesday. After 11 races in the Techno 293 class, Samson finished in 16th place, and Stokes ended 20th.

“I thought they learned a lot, and they made improvements,” coach Britt Viehman said. “It’s pretty tough competition, so we’ll do better next time.

“The event was awesome,” Viehman continued. “They did a stellar job with race management, the whole feeling of the Olympics was awesome for the kids – they really got to see what it is like.”

Samson raced consistently, posting her best finish on Friday, Aug. 20, with a 10th-place performance. She also concluded the regatta with a strong final race on Wednesday, ending in 14th among the 18 sailors.

“Everything was so great from the Village and the dining hall to all the people,” Samson said of attending the Youth Olympic Games. “We really had a lot of fun getting to know all of the other athletes, and it was great competition. I’m really happy to have been a part of it.”

Stokes recorded a strong few races in the middle of competition, including a 12th-place finish among the fleet of 21 in his fourth race on Wednesday, Aug. 18.

“It was sweet. It was such a great experience – Singapore did a great job,” Stokes said of his overall Games experience. “There were just a lot of things to do and I met a lot of people.”

In the boys Techno 293 competition, Israel’s Mayan Rafic captured gold (22), while Michael Cheng of Hong Kong (31) edged Great Britain’s Kieran Martin (32) by one point.

In the girls’ event, Siripon Kaewduang-Ngam of Thailand dominated with seven race victories to win the gold medal with 22 points. Veronica Fanciulli (39) of Italy was second overall, while Audrey Pei Lin Yong’s (43) third-place finish on the final day was enough to win bronze for Singapore.

Overall, 11 different countries won medals in the two boys and girls sailing events at the Youth Olympic Games, as racing was also held in the Byte CII class. With wind delays throughout the regatta, as well as thunderstorms passing through, the sailors passed the time by getting to know each other and painting on a mural set up at the National Sailing Center. Samson and Great Britain’s Jade Rogers – friends before the Games and even closer now – painted their names prominently on top, and the board quickly filled with country flags, messages and other art work.

Samson and Stokes qualified for the team at the 2010 Calema Midwinter Windsurfing Festival, where they were the highest finishing American male and female. The regatta was held in March in Merritt Island, Florida.

Samson, 16, will be a junior at Palm Harbor University High School. She started windsurfing two years ago when her father introduced her to the sport.

Stokes, 15, enters his junior year at Norfolk Collegiate School. He grew up in a family of sailors, and he was dominant in the Optimist class before switching to windsurfing. He has only been windsurfing competitively for the past year.

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