Nick Thompson, with three World Championship medals already under his belt is in no doubt as to where his sights lie heading into next week’s Laser World Championships in Oman (17-23 November).
The 27-year-old is aiming for his first world title at the Al-Mussanah Sports City, having made the podium at the last three World Championships he’s contested, in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Having missed the 2012 event following an appendix operation, Thompson is keen to make 2013 the year he claims the elusive world title, but knows he’ll have strong competition on his hands from a number of quarters.
‘Having never actually managed to win a Worlds, that is my goal – very much I’m looking to really try and win this one,’ he admitted.
‘It’s going to be a tough year because most of the guys have been pretty much full-time since the Games – I don’t think many of the guys took time off, and we’ve got some faces in the class again like Robert Scheidt and a few others who are back.
‘I don’t think it’s going to be an easy one, but to win is definitely the goal.’
‘Through the season so far we’ve had so many different people who’ve been on form that it’s hard to pinpoint rivals,’ Thompson continued.
‘You can’t bet against someone like Robert Scheidt – he’s won so many Worlds he obviously knows how to do that – but there are also guys like Tonci [Stipanovic] who’s been sailing very, very well recently winning the Europeans and the Qingdao World Cup, and you’ve got the Swedish guy Jesper [Stalheim] who’s been sailing well and the Dutch who’ve also been sailing well.
‘You could go down every country pretty much and say there are guys who are capable of doing well on their day. I‘m certainly going to try and be up there with them!’
After a break from Laser sailing at the end of 2012 and early 2013, the Exeter-based sailor admits he’s now back in the Olympic class ‘wanting it more than ever’, and sees a result at these World Championships as great motivation towards his Rio 2016 ambitions.
‘It’s important in terms of funding, but really for me it’s about trying to nail that World title.
‘To start doing that now sets down a huge marker for future in terms of personal confidence and also showing the others that you’re capable of doing it. It gives you a little extra kick for the next few years gearing up to the Games!’
Thompson and seven fellow British Sailing Team sailors will be among the 120 vying for World Championship honours next week, with some tough racing conditions expected at the Middle Eastern venue.
‘It’s incredibly hot and the water’s very hot, sort of 30 degrees and the outside air temperature is around 40 degrees most of the time so it’s absolutely baking! That’s really going to throw something different into the mix that none of us have really had to contend with at a major championship before – having to stay hydrated and stay out of the sun as much as possible, which is obviously pretty tough to do when you’re out on the water.
‘In terms of sailing conditions, I would expect about six to 12 knots most days and pretty choppy so it’s reasonably physical upwind for that light wind strength. It’s a challenging condition. The other factor that plays into it as well is that there are very few markers for change.
‘Normally when we’re sailing at venues there’s a lot of land around or there are features like clouds and things to look around for, but there it’s just desert and most of the time where we’re sailing the desert doesn’t come round the side of the racetrack, so there aren’t really any transits or visual cues. Generally the sea breeze just kind of comes in, there’s no real indication that it’s coming! It’s a different venue to put it mildly!’
Also in World Championship action for the British Sailing Team will be Podium Potential Squad members Alex Mills Barton, Martin Evans, Lorenzo Chiavirini, Ben Cornish, Elliot Hanson, Matt Reid and Jack Wetherell.
Racing at the 2013 Laser World Championships gets underway on Sunday 17 November, with two races scheduled per day until Saturday 23 November.
For further event information, visit Event Website
Story by Sailworld http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=116615
Image credit: ‘Nick Thompson in Laser action.’ © Paul Wyeth / RYA