Medal moments and Olympic quotas: Your World Sailing Championships breakdown

Great Britain’s sailors left the World Championships with five medals, eight Olympic quota spots and a lot more to be proud of.

Stellar results across the board helped Britain to finish as the only nation to win five medals at the 10-day regatta in The Hague.

Looking ahead to Paris 2024, there are just two classes left to secure spots for – here is how the other eight available places were secured for Team GB.

Aldridge spearheads ‘strongest squad in the world’

The Olympics’ most exciting new sailing discipline looks suited to Britain’s sailors after four top ten finishes in the fledgling Formula Kite class.

Ellie Aldridge and Lily Young took silver and bronze respectively, while Katie Dabson finished fourth and Madeleine Anderson came ninth.

France’s Lauriane Nolot made the step up to claim gold after finishing third in 2021 and second in 2022, but she will have a fight on her hands on home waters next summer.

“To have four Brits in the top ten, and three in the final fighting it out for the world title is insane,” said Aldridge.

“It’s so nice to know we’ve got the strongest squad in the world, pushing each other hard for the Games next summer.”

Young added: “It’s amazing. I think the reason we are all so good is that we’ve got each other pushing each other on. We are super competitive, but also super good friends - which I think is the best environment to have.”

Read more: The GB Kite Girls introduce you to their new Olympic class

Beckett battles to another silver

England’s battles with Australia have been a recurring theme of this year’s sporting summer but it was Welshman Micky Beckett who went toe-to-toe with an all-conquering Aussie in Scheveningen.

The Solva star finished second behind Matt Wearn in the ILCA 7 in the Olympic test event last month and was once again bettered only by the reigning Olympic champion.

As with their duel in Marseille, Beckett was in control for much of the week but a black flag disqualification pulled him back to third in the standings prior to the medal race.

That fault put gold out of reach, but Beckett did overturn a one-point deficit to New Zealand’s George Gautrey to swoop silver after a second-place finish in the final race of the week, underlining his impressive form a year out from what would be a maiden Olympic Games appearance.

"Cracking it this year almost feels like I have broken a bit of a curse, to be honest," he said.

"Every time I tried the World Championships I got it wrong pretty much over the last five years.

"It is a bit of a relief, but it is mixed feelings as well because I was winning the event for 90% of it pretty much, but it is a game of fine margins, and I made a very small mistake at the wrong moment."

Gimson and Burnet thwarted by familiar foe

John Gimson and Anna Burnet took silver in the Nacra 17, with only their Italian training partners standing between them and the top of the rostrum.

Silver medallists in Tokyo, the pair secured a nation place at Paris despite a set-back injury for Burnet on day three of the competition after she twisted her knee during a standard tack.

They showed their fighting spirit to secure silver, leaving Italian pairing and friends Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti to clinch gold in a dominant performance.

"For us, this regatta was all about making sure we qualified the nation for the Olympics next year, which we managed to do a day early,” said Burnet.

"So, then going out yesterday and being able to enjoy the medal race was really cool and the medal was really a bonus for us.”

Wilson continues to challenge

Like her kite counterparts, Emma Wilson is another athlete tasked with adjusting to a new class.

The windsurfer’s bright start to life in the iQFOiL continued as she backed up test event silver with a World Championship bronze.

The Nottingham ace was among the favourites in the new classification and was in a strong position to claim either gold or silver heading into the latter stages of the event.

While she eventually claimed bronze, the 24-year-old was disappointed to see Israeli pair Shahar Tibi and Katy Spychakov standing a little taller on the Dutch coast.  

“It was a long week. It was pretty physical and I think I sailed really well,” she said.

“But we have a format where it’s effectively winner-takes-all in the final race, and I didn’t sail well and ended up coming third. That is hard to take, but maybe in a few days it will be alright.

“I guess when you’re winning all week - and all year I’ve been at the top - so I knew I could win. I wanted to win, but I think I need a bit of time to reflect and then I’ll know what went wrong.”

More Paris spots filled

Alongside the medal success, Great Britain qualified for Olympic berths in eight of the ten Olympic classes, with only the mixed dinghy and men’s kite spots still to secure.

Freya Black and Saskia Tidey came home fifth in the 49erFX, while James Peters and Fynn Sterritt were sixth in the 49er. In the men’s iQFOiL, Sam Sills finished fifth.

Elsewhere, Hannah Snellgrove missed out on the ILCA 6 medal race by a single point, but her 11th overall was enough to secure a country spot in the class.

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