SHE may have enjoyed her most successful season to date, but sailing sensation Islay Watson’s focus has shifted on to the next target – qualifying for the 2018 Youth Olympics in Argentina, writes Sophie Watkiss.

Watson finished in the top 10 in both the RS:X and Techno 293 Plus World Championships in the youth women category this summer, and is setting her sights on cementing herself on the windsurfing circuit, first by winning a place at Buenos Aires next October.

Looking ahead, Watson, who currently sits 121st in the RS:X world rankings, is focused and ready to improve on her top-10 finishes in 2017.

Despite juggling school work and completing much of her training at the National Sailing Academy in Weymouth, nearly 600 miles from her family in

Scotland, she is unwavering in her desire to become an Olympian.

Although Watson’s focus is now firmly on next year, the Aviemore-born windsurfer admitted last season’s experiences over the last season are still sinking in.

“For this season, I’m looking to qualify for the Youth Olympics, so that’s a big goal looking forward,” she said.

“That would just mean a lot, it would be a good milestone in my long-term goals.

“Those competitions were like my main goals but I did a little bit better than I expected to be honest, it was a pretty good season,” she added.

“The Youth Worlds in Lake Garda, Italy was a really great event.

“I really enjoyed it and felt like I got a lot out of it, as well as some good results.

“I think the single highlight was probably the medal race at the Youth Worlds, I didn’t do particularly well in it but I just really enjoyed it, it was just a really good experience, a bit different.”

The teenager, who receives financial benefits as part of the SSE Next Generation programme, also has an important year ahead of her academically, with exams on the horizon.

“It’s my last year of school, it’s quite challenging but I’m ready for it, I feel like I can do it,” she said.

“My school have been really good in helping me do what I need to do, so it’s been great.

“It’s a great help, it’s one of the reasons why we can do as much

as we do, like travelling and

competing and stuff and it’s been really helpful for the last few years.”

n Since 2013, SSE is proud to make a difference to young people, their families and their communities, by investing in the future of sporting talent through the SSE Next Generation scheme. Keep up to date @YourSSE