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Judith brings home Gold in Blind Sailing World Championship

05 Jul 24

Judith Spencer, who works at HPFT’s New Leaf Recovery and Wellbeing College has won gold for Great Britain in the Blind Sailing Match Racing World Championship.

Judith and the team celebrating in the boat after winning the race

Match Racing is a highly technical one-on-one strategic duel-like race, where two identical boats, sailed by people officially registered blind or visually impaired, race against each other.

The team dominated the championships in Lake Geneva and ended in a Great Britain vs Great Britain final! Despite this, Judith says she has “never felt more competitive than at the moment” and was delighted to win the gold medal and be crowned champion.

Judith described the closing ceremony as “emotional” and reflected on the incredible experience:

It is a moment that I will treasure for the rest of my life, and I recognise that I didn't do this alone. I'm thankful for the whole GBR team, the commitment and dedication of previous Olympic medallist coaches, the volunteers who assisted on so many levels, and those who donated to help us attend together with friends, family and colleague’s support.”

The team also had a VIP invite to the Olympic torch parade in Excenevex ahead of the Paris 2024 games, to raise awareness of Blind Sailing in the hope that it will one day be recognised as a paralympic sport. 

Judith continues:

The entire experience has just made me hungry for more and, despite my age, I will do my utmost to secure my selection in three years’ time.”  

Judith and the team sailing the boat

Andrew Nicholls, Recovery Lead said:

“We are so incredibly proud of Judith – it’s an amazing achievement! Have never even been in the same room as a World Champion yet alone have one in the team!”

In the meantime, Judith is now back to her day job at New Leaf Recovery and Wellbeing College, where she supports the delivery of training HPFT staff how to help people with complex emotional needs. 

Judith celebrating with the Union Jack flag

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