Sailor brings home the gold from USA
Chris Albert has brought home the gold after his team sailed their way to the top of the podium at the World Blind Fleet Race championships.
The 51-year-old was part of a four-man crew taking part in the competition in Chicago earlier this month, representing Great Britain.
After sailing 17 races over six days, Chris, who lost his sight as a result of diabetes, and his team took the gold.
A second Great Britain team also competing in the race won silver.
The 51-year-old from Washington, who works as a technical support officer for South Tyneside Council’s hearing and visually impaired service, said: “It was really good. There were 17 races over six days. We got quite a few first and second places. We took a little dip in the middle, but we managed to get gold on the last leg in the last race.
“It was between us and another Great Britain team as to who was going to take the gold.
“The year before last, we came away with the silver, so to win the gold was fantastic. We put in a lot of hard work and training, so we were all really pleased with it.”
Chris who decided he would retire from competing in the sport following the gold medal win is now reconsidering his decision.
He added: “This was a fleet racing event. There is a match racing event coming up but it is a very expensive sport,
“I had considered retiring after I won the gold, but I’ll wait and see.
“It did cost me a lot of money to take part in this event, so I will have to see how I go with sponsors. I would like to compete, but we will have to wait and see.”
Chris has been sailing since the age of 15 and when he lost his sight in 2008, he thought he would have to give up on his passion.
However, he was assisted in carrying on later being contacted by the Great Britain Blind Sailing Club. Chris also sails with South Shields Sailing Club.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Olive Punchion said: “I am delighted to hear about Chris’ outstanding achievement after competing in the Blind Sailing World Championships.
“His golden success is truly inspiring and he is an exemplary ambassador for both South Tyneside and the Council.”
Chris receives no funding for representing Great Britain in the sport having to fund his training and competition costs himself.
He is currently looking for sponsors to enable him to compete in future events.
If anyone can help sponsor Chris, email firstname.lastname@example.org