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British Sailing's Matt Barton's hard work in lockdown pays off at Formula Foil World Championships




The Covid-19 lockdown prevented Pakenham’s Matt Barton from doing what he loves most – getting out on the water.

Yet, rather than feel sorry for himself, the recently-turned 25-year-old used his time productively.

He got himself in top shape – both physically and mentally – and that hard work was duly rewarded at last month’s biggest ever Formula Foil World Championships in Lake Silvaplana, Switzerland.

Pakenham's Matt Barton at the World Championships. Picture: Sailing Energy
Pakenham's Matt Barton at the World Championships. Picture: Sailing Energy

Barton, who is a member of the British sailing team, came out on top in the IQ Foil Division and finished 19th overall from 130 competitors.

“The lockdown was very tough. We couldn’t get on the water and obviously for windsurfers that is a big part of your training gone,” he said.

“Other nations could still train and that was hard to watch, but there was nothing we could do.

Pakenham's Matt Barton at the World Championships. Picture: Sailing Energy
Pakenham's Matt Barton at the World Championships. Picture: Sailing Energy

“Not being out on the water made me think about everything in terms of performance and preparation. I decided to maximise the time I had and come back in the best physical shape I could be.

“I hit the rowing machine hard, I hit the weights hard and it was really super focussed training.

“Switzerland was incredible. I knew I was in good shape physically and that gave me a lot of confidence.

“I was really pleased with finishing first in the IQ Foil Division – it showed that everything I had been doing in recent months was worthwhile.”

Barton has another event in Lake Garda, Italy, next month. That is his immediate focus, but in the long term his sights are fixed firmly on the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

“I am looking forward to Lake Garda. It was due to be a European Championships but due to the situation not everyone can compete so it has been downgraded,” he added.

“But it is still going to be competitive and I want to do well there.

“After that I want to cement my place as one of the top foilers in the country.

“I’m looking at Paris in 2024, that is where I want to be and that is the goal I am working towards.”