Gunning for gold in the Laser Radial

Richard Langdon / Skandia Team GBR
Selected only last week, Alison Young and coach Hugh Styles talk about their campaign
With the last crop of Skandia Team GBR selections, so Alison Young has been chosen to represent Britain in the Laser Radial in early August at the London 2012 Olympic Games. While the British team is strong in most classes and, when Shirley Robertson won her long awaited gold medal in the Europe in 2000, the women’s singlehander was once upon a time one of them, following the change to the Laser Radial it has become one of Britain's weaker events with Penny Clark finishing 10th in Beijing and Laura Baldwin coming home 23rd in Athens. Could this change with the woman who turns 25 later this month and heralds from Bewdley, near Kidderminster in darkest Gloucestershire? Ali Young got into sailing on nearby Trimpley Reservoir after her father did some sailing lessons there. She began in Optimists. “I did the racing at the club there and then there was a Midland Optimist circuit, I got into that and it snowballed from there,” she says. Young was recruited into the Optimist squad in 2001 and spent a year in that before graduating up to the Topper for 18 months and finally reaching the Radial when she was 15 – first in the Laser Radial Transitional Squad before moving into the youth squad. “I went to the Youth Worlds in 2005 and got a bronze medal there and then got on to the Development Squad,” she says. So her Olympic steed is a boat she has been racing for around a decade. Her first World Championship was in 2005 when she came home 27th and she has competed at every one since. Wisely, she chose to complete her degree at Southampton University where she finished up in 2008, achieving a First in Civil Engineering. “It was quite a hard balance while I was at uni to get