Kitefoiling: Singapore's Maximilian Maeder clinches World Sailing Youth (Under-19) C'ships

Singaporean kitefoiler Maximilian Maeder was pleased with the victory and added that his next area of focus is consistency. PHOTO: LLOYD IMAGES/OMAN SAIL

SINGAPORE - After overcoming a rocky start to the World Sailing Youth (Under-19) World Championships, Singaporean kitefoiler Maximilian Maeder sailed to victory in 14 of the remaining 17 races, clinching the men's Formula Kite title a day before the competition ended.

Going into the final two races in Oman on Friday (Dec 17), Maximilian had 14 nett points, ahead of Italy's Riccardo Pianosi (25) and Russia's Mikhail Novikov (30), making it mathematically impossible for them to overtake him.

Maximilian eventually finished with 16 nett points while Pianosi (30) and Novikov (35) were second and third respectively.

He was pleased with the victory and added that his next area of focus is consistency.

"The goal is and always was for me to push out the limit of the possible and pursue mastery in my sport," he said.

"For me, results just a natural consequence of progression. I feel races are won long before the events, patiently training and preparing all the little details to eliminate sources of errors and mishaps."

The win concludes a stellar year for the teenager, 15, in which he won the Formula Kite Youth (U19) World Championships and European Championships. He also rose to the top of the men's world rankings in September and finished fifth in October's Formula Kite World Championships.

He is aiming to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympics and said these results mean he is on the right track. He added: "It also shows that the intense battle between the young riders ... is very stimulating.

"We are pushing each other so hard that we have started to ... end up on the podiums of the men's events like the last European Championship in France or the World Championship in Italy. And all this in a spirit of friendship and having fun together, it's great."

Maximilian actually had a challenging start to this week's event in Mussanah, crashing and failing to finish the first race.

He recovered to finish fourth in the second and dominated the remaining legs, sealing the title with two races to spare.

While he plans to train in Mexico and Croatia next year, he will now spend the rest of the year with his family at home in Switzerland and is looking forward to enjoying the snow and his mother's cooking.

"She is already stocking up on all the ingredients for the holiday feast.

"I will get to eat through my list of favourites and cravings like curry puffs, chicken rice, prata and chicken curry," said Maximilian, who is home-schooled.

Windsurfers Jayson Tan and Angel Seah were also in action. Both were making their debut at the competition and Jayson finished 16th of 18 while Angel was 12th of 17 windsurfers.

Jayson, 15, said: "This was definitely a great learning and eye-opening experience for me being exposed to the high levels of competition."

Angel, 18, who is hoping to represent Singapore at the 2023 SEA Games, added: "Over the past week, I have learnt to observe and pick up new skills and techniques from other better sailors. I've also realised the importance of tenacity - to never give up and quickly pick yourself up if you score badly, to focus on the next race and improve from there."

Singapore Sailing Federation general manager Chung Pei Ming was in Oman with the sailors and said Maximilian's result was a great way to end the year.

He added: "Due to all the restrictions and challenges brought about by Covid-19, many junior and youth programs were slowed down.

"It is very fortunate that Angel and Jayson also got to join the event as participating in these events not only checks your level against the rest, but allows the athletes to bring home valuable information, best practices and new sparring contacts."

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