Skegness windsurfer Rob York gives Olympians a run for their money

Rob with some of the full-time women he competed against (left to right) Izzy Hamilton, Olympic medallist Bryony Shaw and Saskia Sills.

Rob with some of the full-time women he competed against (left to right) Izzy Hamilton, Olympic medallist Bryony Shaw and Saskia Sills.

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Talented Skegness windsurfer Rob York gave experienced Olympians a tough battle in a big competition in Weymouth.

The Sail for Gold event saw the 17-year-old Skegness Grammar School student sail against top women because they compete with the same-size equipment.

The one to beat was Beijing bronze medallist Bryony Shaw, who finished fifth in London 2012.

She and the other full-time professionals showed Rob the way in light winds over the first two days of last week’s competition.

However Rob, the son of Simon and Mandy York, who live in Skegness, made his mark on day three.

His father said: “He started to show form by winning two of the races. The wind held for day four when he came first.

“With just the medal race left and with double points up for grabs, Rob was in sight of Bryony but it was always going to be tough.

“Rob had to win and he needed Bryony to be fifth or lower,” said Mr York. “Rob did all he could, comfortably winning the race, but Bryony showed all her experience to hang on in second and took the competition.”

Rob said it had been a “fantastic week” and committed himself to the Olympic programme.

“When I complete my A-levels I’m moving to Weymouth, which is the home of the National Sailing Academy, and will be joining the Olympic development squad training for the Rio games in 2016,” he said.

“I know there’s a lot of hard work ahead over the next 18 months but I’ve got to go for it.”

Next Sunday (23rd June) Rob leaves for Brest in France to represent Team GB in the Youth European Championships and, in August, he is one of two boys who will represent Great Britain in the prestigious Youth Eurosaf regatta.

Mr York said he and his wife were “extremely grateful” to Skegness Grammar School sponsor the David Ross Education Trust, which provided an Odey scholarship grant which enabled them to purchase new equipment, including a sail.

They had also been supported by the Nottingham Building Society.

Associate Principal at Skegness Grammar School Simon Sprague said staff and students were “extremely proud” of Rob’s achievements.

“We’re delighted to do what we can to help him achieve his ambitious goals,” he said. “He’s a fantastic competitor and an absolute credit to the school.”