Topper Dinghy - London Youth Games at Island Barn Reservoir
RICHMOND WINS SAILING AT LONDON YOUTH GAMES
To borrow an over used expression of travel writers, the London Heathrow Youth Games is one of sports best kept secrets. London's 33 boroughs compete against each other in no less than 40 sports in June and July every year in something resembling a mini Olympic Games. The 2002 games Overall Champion Borough was Havering, on the fringes of East London.
On Saturday, 28th June, Island Barn Reservoir Sailing Club in West Molesey, West London, hosted the 2003 sailing event, won for the last 2 years by Merton. This year 18 boroughs competed under a blue sky and a zephyr of a wind. The 120 competitors were divided into male / female and into 3 age groups, the youngest sailing Oppies and the middle and oldest groups sailing Toppers. The courses were Olympic 'sausage-triangle' format for all groups. Each of the 6 groups were scheduled to sail 3 races each, making 18 races in a day - a tough assignment for the two race officers in such fickle conditions.
After round one, Hillingdon (Joe Robbins and Laura Fielder) and Richmond (Tony Adams and Sophie Jones) looked strong with 2 wins each. Merton (Oscar McViegh) and Havering (Sarah Levington) were in close company with 1 win each.
In round 2 the wind had decreased to such an extent that competitors needed to choose the end of the line with the faintest of breezes rather than the total calm at the other. In this round, Richmond's pair of Tony Adams and Sophie Jones again scored firsts, and were joined as winners by team-mate Stuart Adams. Sarah Leverton scored another first for Havering. Hillingdon's Joe Powell won in the Oppies and now Bromley figured with a first from Sarah Murphy.
In the final Oppie round Oscar Mcviegh returned to winning ways and so became male Oppie Male champion. In the female Oppie Class, though Laura Fielder only scored a 5th in round 3, her challenger Sarah Murphy could not score the win she needed to beat her on points and Laura Fielder took the Female Oppie title for Hillingdon.
The wind on the Topper course would no longer ruffle the water, so things were called to a halt at two rounds completed. Tony Adams and Sophie Jones, with perfect scores, took the senior Topper titles for Richmond. Louis McViegh's consistant two 2nd places won him Junior male Topper title for Merton. In the female junior Topper, Sarah Leverton posted a perfect score to take first for Havering.
With 4 Boroughs earning the 6 individual Gold medals available, attention was diverted to the lesser medals, which would be all important in the reckoning for top sailing borough. Merton with 2 Golds, won no further medals, while Hillingdon with 1 Gold, won 1 silver and 2 bronzes, to give them a better medal tally than Merton. Richmond looked very strong with 2 silvers (Tony Adams and Naomi Phillips) to add to the 2 Golds. The lower placings could still decide the outcome. Merton added a 3,4,7,9 to its total, while Hillingdon bettered this with a 4,5. Richmond could still sink, as last year, with a poor result, but a 4th and 6th from Robert Henderson and Emma Loffler was easily enough to seal victory for the borough for the first time. Hillingdon took second and Merton third.
|SENIOR TOPPER MALE|
|SENIOR TOPPER FEMALE|
|JUNIOR TOPPER MALE|
|JUNIOR TOPPER FEMALE|