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Ian Walker to be new RYA Director of Racing

Ian Walker MBE is to take up Director of Racing position at the Royal Yachting Association this autumn.

As Director of Racing, a position he will take over full time from October, Walker will oversee the RYA’s World Class Programme and talent pathways, as well as the broader remit of racing participation in all its forms in the UK.

Ian Walker joins the RYA at a time of considerable change, with two pillars of the organisation leaving this year and Britain's domination of Olympic level racing under challenge.

John Derbyshire will retire later this year as Director of Racing following 32 years’ involvement with high performance sailing at the RYA.

And Stephen Park will step down as Olympic Manager after over 20 years of involvement with the British Sailing Team.

Walker has enjoyed an impressive and multi-faceted career in the sport, winning two Olympic silver medals (470 in 1996; Star in 2000) and coaching Shirley Robertson, Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb to Yngling gold at Athens 2004.

Among a host of inshore and offshore racing successes, Walker has been involved with two America’s Cup campaigns (GBR Challenge in 2003; +39 in 2007) and won the 2014/15 edition of the Volvo Ocean Race with Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing.

“Having achieved more than I could have ever dreamed of in a sailing career spanning over 30 years, I have decided that the time is right to take on a new challenge,” the 47-year-old explained.

“Being the RYA Director of Racing will give me the opportunity to take a leading role in British sailing and to be able to give something back to the sport that has given me so many fantastic life experiences."

RYA CEO Sarah Treseder commented:

“We’re delighted to be welcoming Ian to the RYA family. A world-renowned sailor and outstanding leader, his breadth and depth of experience of the sport will be of huge benefit to the UK racing community."

UK Sport Director of Performance Chelsea Warr added:

“Ian was the outstanding candidate for the role and the unanimous choice of the panel."

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