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The University of Southampton

Back-to-back world championships for history-making Ship Science graduate

Published: 14 August 2018
Pavlos Kontides sailing
Pavlos Kontides won his second successive Laser World Sailing title. ©Sailing Energy/World Sailing.

University of Southampton alumnus Pavlos Kontides has retained his world title at the 2018 Sailing World Championship in Denmark.

The 28-year-old from Cyprus won the Laser class in the Bay of Aarhus a decade after he won the Youth World Championships at the same venue.  He won his first senior world title in the Laser class in Split, Croatia last year, on his way to claiming the number one world ranking.

Kontides led the overall competition in Aarhus heading into the medal round and overcame difficult conditions to claim the title. Facing strong winds at the top mark of the course, the fleet struggled to keep their boats afloat with Kontides falling behind after taking on water at one stage of the race. As the wind dropped (to 12 knots from 25) Kontides battled back against his closest rival for the title, silver medallist Matthew Wearn from Australia, to claim the gold medal.

“It’s a fantastic feeling - I feel amazing,” Kontides said after the race. “It was a difficult race against Matt. I stayed behind at first but it didn’t get me down. I chased Matt and managed to conquer the title.”

Kontides, who completed his Ship Science degree at Southampton in 2013, won Olympic silver at London 2012 to become the first-ever athlete from Cyprus to bring home a medal of any colour from the Games.

He was crowned the world’s number one Laser sailor in October 2017 after winning silver in the Laser Radial Medal Race at the World Cup Series in Gamagori, Japan. He scored another gold at the Laser European Championships in La Rochelle, France, in May 2018.

Also competing in Aarhus this year were Southampton alumni Ben Saxton (BSc Business Studies, 2011) who came 10th in the Nacra class with sailing partner Nicola Boniface; Visiting Research Fellow Laura Marimon Giovannetti (MEng Ship Science, 2013; PhD Engineering, 2017) who, together with sailing partner Chris Rashley, finished 13th in the Nacra; Fynn Sterritt (MEng Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2011), who finished fifth with his sailing partner, James Peters, in the 49er; and 2016 world champion Alison Young (BSc Civil Engineering, 2008) who came seventh in the Laser Radial.

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Southampton graduate Pavlos Kontides won the Laser World Sailing title in the Bay of Aarhus, Denmark, a decade after he won the Youth World Championships at the same venue. ©Sailing Energy/World Sailing.
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Pavlos Kontides added his second world sailing gold medal to the silver medal he won at London 2012. ©Sailing Energy/World Sailing.
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