OXFORDSHIRE teen-ager Alice Read excee-ded her own expectations by finishing tenth in the World Championships in the Netherlands.
Competing at the highest level for the first time, the 14-year-old, from Farmoor, near Oxford, shone in the girls’ under 15 age group at Medemelik.
After a series of races over a number of days, she was the second-highest placed British girl in the field of 32.
Read, a member of Farmoor Oxford Zoomers, said: “Everyone, including me, thought it would be an amazing experience, just learning and seeing what the competiton would be like.
“My dad (Matthew) made a deal with me if I came in the top ten I could get a puppy, because he didn’t think I would, and now we are looking for a dog.”
But it was nail-biting stuff for the Matthew Arnold School pupil as a below-par performance on the final day left her unsure if she would drop down the rankings. She said: “The last day I did quite badly, so I was really worried I was going to lose my tenth place, but when I saw I was tenth overall I was just speechless.”
Read, who has been windsurfing for four years, was introduced to the sport by her father, who finished ninth in the senior world championships in Tunisia when he used to compete.
And she was quick to show her ability, posting wins in the national Volvo Masters competition at Rutland in 2010 and 2011, before finishing runner-up this year.
She gave much of the credit for her performance to her coach, Richard Beardsley.
“He is an amazing coach,” she said. “He has helped me go through this right from the start.”
Now she is looking to continue her progress when she competes in the European Championships in Mercia, Spain, starting on Wednesday, October 17 – a competition that she admits will be another step into the unknown.
“I am hoping to improve, but I am not sure how high the standard is going to be,” she added.
Another prominent showing there should help Read, who is competing in Christ-church, Dorset, this weekend, towards her goal of stepping up from the zone squad to the national squad.