World Youth Champs 08
England's dual 'Golden' boys, bring back unprecedented glory, while U18 team secures Bronze on Gent's rowing course.

England had the undoubted disappointment of an U18 Team Bronze firmly put on the back shelf as their two 'golden' boys hit the jackpot. U18 Matt Godfrey scored an unprecedented THIRD world title with a masterful display over the two days to record the perfect score. 'Gobsmacked' could be Callum Dicks' response as he was belatedly informed that he had secured the second Gold medal for himself and his country with a 5pt total.

England's senior and Junior manager Mark Downes can be rightly proud of his "Young Guns' as they all fished their hearts out on Gent's superb rowing course. The question now is, will Matt Godfrey make the jump to the under 22s and start to challenge Alan Scotthorne for the title of England's most prolific gold medal winner???

However, the encouraging news from these championships is one of continued improvement for the emerging nations. As we've seen in the senior championships, teams from smaller, less well endowed nations, are becoming increasingly more competitive, making ALL championships a far from certain outcome!

But the story from Belgiums' Gent rowing course is the unprecedented achievement of England's Matt Godfrey, who, for the THIRD time, has secured a gold medal in the U18s at these world youth championships. This was also bolstered by yet another gold medal winning performance from (a surprised) England's U22, Callum Dicks.

Unfortunately, our coverage of these championships was restricted by the time available to cover the two days fully. However, we did manage to arrive in time (just!) for the final day and capture pictorially, not only some of the smaller nations in action, but also the the incredible feat of Matt. We also have special audio interviews with England's Youth manager, Mark Downes as well as one from Matt himself... plus, there will be our usual extensive photo galleries in a slideshow format.

Firstly, we supply the full range of results for the whole championships in downloadable PDF format below. These have each days section, individual and team results as well as the final team and individual placings.

Full Downloadable Results from all the age groups   
U14's   U18's    U22's

the story now continues...
As I mentioned earlier, time-restrictions played an important part in reporting this event, but one thing has not diminished and that is our pictorial coverage. We had broken all our pictures down into various blocks of slideshows and individual shots... angler, country and just plain random, so you'll need to check them all out. Unfortunately there was no pictorial coverage of the U22's, as this was on the opposite bank and there's only so much you can do in 30° heat!


The Belgian watersport centre in Gent was a perfect venue to host the 2008 World Youth Championships as its access and administrative facilities were 1st class, if only we could get Holme Pierrepont up and running!

Having returned from a highly successful day-trip to Gent in what turned out to be a excellent event, held on a superb looking and accessible venue. To see some of the world's top seniors, assisting and guiding the 200+ budding champions, over an extended 5 day period was an encouraging sign that our sport is well supported by them, if only we could get that support from the rest of the media and business!

The accessibility of the watersports centre meant that visitors were catered for in every respect and they showed it by turning out in their multitudes!

Sadly the truth is that angling is a poor relative in sport, when it comes to greater media coverage, at least that's the case in the UK and I suspect other areas across the continent. While the 'angling press' is obviously focussed on the sport, they give little or no attention to the younger levels of international competition. I will of course retract this statement if I'm proved incorrect.

It's a fact of life that without competition, whether at local, regional, national or international level, the cause of making enough people get off their backsides and go out to catch fish would be greatly hampered. By that I mean how does the rank-and-file angler know where to go and 'sack up'? Well it's very simple. He hears about matches on the grapevine, in the local tackle shop and by reading some of the reports in the press about a venue producing fantastic match weights of fish... so he goes there hoping to get some of the same! Now you may be wondering why I'm cracking on about this, rather than spending time writing some sort of report about the weekend? Well, there's two things. First, we have two audio reports below, from the England camp, one from Manager Mark Downes and the other from Triple World Champ Matt Godfrey, were they explain the tactics and rigs involved... much better coming from them than me. And secondly, which is better coming from me, is all to do with support. Support from industry and more importantly support from the media, whether it be the published word or the filmed equivalent. These two key components have, and always will have, an essential role to play in the development and prosperity of angling, whether it be match or pleasure, each ultimately benefitting the other.

 England Manager Mark Downes:  
 Triple Gold Medal winner Matt Godfrey: 

Note: We did conduct an interview with two representatives from the Serbian team, but unfortunately the recording somehow became corrupted, so we are unable to bring you it.


This year saw England, through financial constraints, field just two teams... the Under 18s and 22s. Other nations also suffered, I suspect from the same problems, and as a consequence we saw just NINE teams turn out in the Under 14 age group, a sad reflection of how poor our junior sport seems to be viewed in certain sections of the business/media world!


Those companies who do support angling, and I must put Drennan at the top of my list, have my utmost admiration and respected for their continued and essential role in competitive angling. Wouldn't it be nice to see more jumping on the 'bandwagon'!!! Anyway, enough of my rantings, back to the weekend in question for my overview.

It's been pointed out on several occasions by the 'management', aka 'Downes & Co', that the world of angling is changing at the upper levels with smaller, less well-endowed nations, stepping up to the platform and giving the big teams a hard time! Well, it seems that this is filtering down into the 'minor' levels, as we saw at the weekend with the emergence of a particular country's youth, intent on picking up where their more senior role models left off in the recent Euro champs... Serbia!

This once war-torn Balkan state has now developed into a formidable competitor at most levels of international competition, they were only undone for a podium appearance in the Czech Republic by a poor final day. However, all this changed in Gent when their Under 22 team put on a supreme performance to take the Gold medal, ahead of the diminutive San Marino and their next door neighbour, Croatia, just pipping England, who put in their usual last minute spurt to nearly overall everyone! England actually missed that bronze spot by a mere 30/40 grams! Such was their dominance on day two, that it was almost unfair that they should come away with nothing. Had day one produced a kinder result, then the Under 22's would have undoubtadely added gold to their CV.

Nevertheless, the team can be proud of their grandstand finish, a superb 13pts, plus the added bonus of seeing one of their rising stars, Callum Dicks, take an individual gold with 5pts... much to his surprise. I seem to remember someone else taking a gold with 5 points. Must be a lucky number then!
Click the picture to open the 3 slideshows below
It wasn't just the top three teams which consigned some of the 'big guns' to the minor placings... equally diminutive Luxembourg also finished ahead of such giants as Italy, Belgium and France. This current year has seen a few ups-and-downs, I wonder if we'll see anymore before the season is done?

The jubilation that Serbia experienced after their result was plain for all to see, and I can assure you that it didn't stop when most had left the sports HQ, including me! They were clearly enjoying the moment to its fullest.

England had cause for celebration with their remaining squad, the Under 18's. But here, they almost slipped up, again with Serbia snapping at their heels. It was only the decisive tactical instructions from their formidible bank runners, U18 manager Steve Sanders and England international Will Raison, which helped them secure that final team podium position. However, the crowning glory was the achievement of Matt Godfrey who, within this age level of competiton, gained an unprecedented third world title, and he's not even 18 yet! This young man is very gifted technically and having the likes of his coaching staff to guide the way, has developed into an accomplished angler. If his development continues on the same path, with the same guiding hands, then his future could indeed become very bright. Matt's perfect score was the culmination of sound team tactics, coupled with an individual ability, able to carry out the technical and dedicated approach which is the mainstay in achieving success at this high level.

Day one had seen the team finish in a strong position, 2pts behind Italy and in front of Belgium on weight. Two of the squad has produced a section first and second, which looked good for the individuals, but would the fortune continue? Day one had proved disasterous for their older counterparts, could the team now build on that day one achievement and go on to greater things?

On the surface the draw looked pretty mediocre by the previous days figures. It would be touch and go whether the lads could extract maximum points from them. The leading individuals were two Italians, Alberto Italiani and Vito Vitelli along with young Alex Caudin, son of the exceptional French international Gilles and England's Matt Godfrey. Both Alex and Alberto looked to have drawn 'mares' while Vito had drawn in Matt's section and would prove a big danger as his peg (7) had had good day one form, unlike Matt's peg 11. However, as it turned out (so often the case in angling) days rarely fish the same two days running! Matt was able to stay in front of Vito by 400 grams and take the section. The other 'one pointers' fell by the wayside from their poor draws and Matt created a piece of history at this level by taking his third gold individual medal, an impressive feat by anyones standard.

The team however found their lack lustre draw did them no favours and slipped into the bronze position behind Belgium, who'd fished a 'blinder' and won the final day with a superb 14pts to give the home crowd something to really shout about.

Further special mention must be made of the role which the teams coaching staff played. At this age level, it's very difficult for young anglers to keep focussed under the mounting pressures of team and country expectations. It's only the calming and guiding influences of their senior mentors which can keep their heads together! As they progress age-wise, at this level, they'll take on-board the lessons learnt here and hopefully put them all to good use later on.


Special mention, as always, should go to the hard-working backroom staff who collate, sort and finally produce the results for all the teams. The two smiling Italian faces here are Barbara and Claudio. Claudio for all those who aren't familiar with international matters is the Presidente of FIPSed.
Click the picture to open slideshows below

One thing is for certain, these championships definitely belonged to Serbia with England in close attendance. They effectively carved up the tournament between them, with perhaps host nation Belgium coming in next best!