Penarth champion sailor Will aims to emulate Olympic medallist Hannah Mills
4:40pm Thursday 6th September 2012 in News
A PENARTH youngster is aiming to follow in the footsteps of Olympic medallist Hannah Mills - and even had the chance to meet his hero after picking up a national sailing title recently.
THE Welsh Optimist Open Championship took place at Cardiff Bay Yacht Club over the Bank Holiday weekend, and was attended by more than 50 competitors from across the UK - despite atrocious weather conditions.
The winner was Cardiff Bay sailor William Hall, 11, from Penarth. This continues a fantastic season for Will, who finished third in the British Junior Nationals and second in the Irish Junior Nationals earlier this year.
Cardiff Bay’s young sailors saw achievements across the board, with top-20 finishes from Rhys Lewis (fifth and top 10-year-old), Jemma Viney (eighth), Matthew Viney (12th), Mila Monaghan (16th) and Alaric Bates (18th).
Other notable results came from Hannah Straw-Roberts, Sam Viney, Deryn May, Huw Nunn, Rhys Williams, Erin Pearce, Felicity Allen, Ben Roberts, Lorelei Bates, Sam Kneale, David Nunn and Zac Healy. Alex Lewis was placed second nine-year old, and Ethan Kneale second eight-year-old.
The event was a massive success and culminated in local sailing hero and Olympic silver medalist Hannah Mills from Dinas Powys presenting the winners with their trophies.
Nick Sawyer, Head Coach of Cardiff Bay Yacht Club, was delighted with the turn-out on a wet and windy Bank Holiday weekend.
"I am extremely pleased that so many sailors from around the UK attended the event, and our local sailors once again made CBYC very proud," he said.
"I was particularly pleased that Hannah Mills was able to join us to present these up and coming sailors with their trophies. She is a real inspiration to our young sailors and an example of what hard work and dedication can achieve."
11-year-old winner Will is now ranked eighth in the UK, a position that includes sailors up to the age of 14.
Following this and his earlier successes in the British and the Irish Junior Nationals, he has been invited to a training squad with the British team in September. He is expected to join the team himself this winter.
He has sailed in Belgium, France, Greece and Ireland this year alone, and hopes to attend an event in Malta in December.
Proud father Phil Hall, said: "To see William beat a very high class field of competitors at his home club, and then be presented with the trophy by one of his heroes, Hannah Mills, was wonderful and a moment to remember."
With William proving himself a Welsh sailing talent to watch, Phil would be delighted to speak to any businesses keen to support his endeavours to become the next Ben Ainslie or Hannah Mills. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org