A rising Stone sailing star is celebrating after being revealed as the 2015 West Midlands’ RYA Youth Champion.
South Staffordshire Sailing Club’s Sarah Norbury, 17, is one of 13 regional winners of the 2015 RYA Youth Champion Awards, which were created just last year to recognise the outstanding achievement and performances of young people across the range of activities that boating’s national governing body, the RYA, represents including sailing, windsurfing and powerboating.
It has been an impressive year for Sarah who, with Welsh sailing partner Mari Davies, won a bronze medal at the 420 Junior European Championships in Gdynia, Poland last August a month after representing Great Britain at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships – considered a pinnacle international event for youth sailors – in Portugal, where the pair finished 10th.
Norbury, who was the West Midlands’ RYA Regional Young Sailor of the Year in 2010 too, also won gold with Davies at the RYA Youth National Championships in Weymouth and Portland in April.
The 420 is a two-person Youth class supported by the RYA on the pathway to Olympic classes sailing, and, after an intense winter of training, Sarah is already looking forward to what lies ahead in 2015.
“I’m really proud to have won this award again this year. It is nice to realise that all the hard work I put in both in sailing and in my fitness is recognised.
“I think our bronze medal in the 420 European Championships was the highlight of the year. Winning a medal at an international event is amazing because the standard of sailing is so high. I almost can’t believe we did it!
“Sailing at the ISAF Youth Worlds is very special. Each country can only send one boat from each class to the event so it’s like the Olympics in that way. As a team we bonded well and all encouraged each other. Performing and having fun together, and getting a top 10 finish, it was definitely one of the best experiences of my life.
“In the UK, we are British Ladies National Champions, Youth National Ladies Champions and Welsh Youth Champions, which feels pretty good too.”
Sarah was nominated by her club South Staffs SC in Gailey and selected as a winner by the RYA West Midlands regional committee.
“All the Olympic sailors really inspire me, I aspire to be like them. Outside of sailing my real role model is Shawn Johnson, USA Gymnast and 4x Olympic medallist. I believe she found a winning balance for the sport in her life.
“This year we have the selection events for the World Championships and the European Championships coming up in March, plus the RYA Youth Nationals Championships in April. I’m aiming to be offered a place at both Championships based on my results at those three events, then I’d really like to medal again during the summer.
“I’d like to thank my club, South Staffordshire Sailing Club for nominating me for this RYA Youth Award. I’d also like to thank my parents and my sponsors for the support they give me, without them I wouldn’t be able to compete at the level I currently do.”
The RYA Youth Champion Awards will be presented at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show at Alexandra Palace, London on Sunday 1 March.
Sarah Treseder, RYA Chief Executive, said:
“We’re delighted to announce the 2015 winners of RYA Regional Youth Champion Awards, which celebrate the talents of the many young sailors, windsurfers and powerboaters who are achieving amazing things across the UK.”
Sarah is supported by Gill, Selden, English Braids, SportsAid, Optimum Time and Stone Lions. If anyone locally would like to find out more about sponsoring Sarah, please contact at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the RYA Regional Youth Champion Awards visit www.rya.org.uk/go/youthchampion