A mark of a true champion is to come back from disappointment and defeat.
SSL Team Great Britain Captain Ian Williams proved his credentials this past week, winning the 2023 World Match Racing Tour Final in Shenzhen, China, and with it a new record for the most championship wins in the Tour’s history.
The SSL Gold Cup seemed to be going so well for SSL Team Great Britain. They’d won all their 1/4 Finals races with ease, and in many people’s books were the favourites to lift the trophy, but a chastening Semi-Finals third place behind SSL Team Italy and SSL Team Netherlands saw them dramatically out of the competition, and Williams on the plane home.
Williams though refused to dwell on the defeat and was immediately preparing for the World Match Racing Tour Final. After a tricky start to the round robin stage, he and his Chinaone.Ningbo team of Jon Gundersen, Richard Sydenham, and Gerrard Mitchell built up the regatta, peaking at just the right time to defeat Gavin Brady 3-1 in the final.
“It was all about the shifts and connecting the puffs. We’ve really got in our groove. Amazing that it’s taken this long, but we really felt the last two races we were in our groove and understood the rhythm of the shifts and the way the boat sails. We were really pleased with our performance, particularly in the last race,” said Williams.
On securing his record seventh victory Williams added, “It’s incredible to finally have got the seventh world title. The last one was back in 2016, nearly eight years ago. To come with a new team, Chinaone.Ningbo, and come to China and win the world title, it’s amazing. It’s been a long time coming. We’ve battled away, we’ve never stopped trying.”
With this victory Williams now stands alone at the top of the match racing world in victories, and will no doubt be looking forward to the next SSL Gold Cup with renewed belief and determination.