A crunch race day 5 at the 2015 470 Worlds as the final battle to claim place in the medal race line-up and secure Olympic qualification climaxed.
Top billing to the defending World Champions as the top ten teams advance to Saturday’s double-points medal race with Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar (AUT) and Mat Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) in control.
Two races for all fleets in a breeze of around 8-10 knots delivered the moment of truth as the World Championship medal contenders were finalised and all but one of the nation slots on offer for Rio 2016 decided.
Day after day the 2015 470 Worlds has been a rollercoaster of jolting lows and soaring highs as the leaderboard has changed race by race, and today was no different. There is so much depth in performance amongst the fleet that any race could be won by virtually any team.
Those 470 Men and Women teams unable to climb the points mountain for Olympic qualification here at the 470 Worlds will have another chance to secure their nation’s ticket at the upcoming Continental Qualification events still to be held for Oceania, Africa, South America, North America and Europe.
Saturday’s medal races kick off with the 470 Women at 1400 hours, followed by the 470 Men at 1445 hours.
A delivery of opposites for Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar (AUT) and Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) as the 1 point separation between the two teams going into the opening race of the day was defined by a win to the Austrians and 16th place finish to the British. The defending World Champions moved on to the final race 10 with a ten point advantage over the British, secured a third place finish and converted their margin to 18 points. Vadlau/Ogar are guaranteed silver and only the British can displace them from the gold medal, but that would take a win from Mills/Clark and last place to Austria.
The Austrian team has managed the competition skilfully from day 1 and ever understated, Vadlau said, “Tomorrow we will do our job like we did today and we will see what is coming up. We did really good races today. The conditions were super hard and I have to give a huge compliment to Olgi as she worked like an animal today and like this it is amazing to sail.”
Mills/Clark carry a 12 point advantage over third placed Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA), and have also guaranteed themselves a medal finish, as fourth placed Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) can only attack the French for bronze. Lecointre/Defrance have a chance to upgrade to silver – so the race track strategy between these top four teams will be intriguing.
“You know those weeks of sailing where you just feel you can't seem to get anything right, or have anything just go your way? Well that's us this week,” declared Powrie.
Elsewhere on the race track, the day’s two races were all about claiming one of the three Olympic qualification places. Race 9 down and tickets were already safe in the hands of Poland and Germany (subject to ISAF ratification) as their points advantage was unassailable by the other unqualified nations.
Poland’s Agnieszka Skrzypulec made history for Polish sailing when she became the first sailor to ever qualify her nation to the 470 Women event in London 2012, and today she day she repeated that feat.
Germany’s Annika Bochmann/Marelene Steinherr finished eighth overall and secured Germany’s place to Rio, in an impressive outcome for the partnership of just one year. Bochmann though has won numerous titles with previous crews, including the 2011 470 Junior Worlds and 2012 470 Junior Europeans. Next up for them will be winning their national selection criteria.
“We are really happy,” smiled Bochmann. “This was the main goal here for us, to qualify the nation and now it’s done.”
Thirteen nations gunning for the three Olympic qualification places has meant no let-up, as Steinherr commented, “We have tried not to look at the results and just go step by step. We are really happy we are not having to fight it out in the medal race.”
Spain, the third nation in the Olympic qualification leaderboard after race 9, was in the sights of Australia’s Carrie Smith/Jaime Ryan with just a 9 point separation going into the final race. An escalation on performance from the Aussies, compared to the Spaniard’s dip of two high scores in the 30’s, now puts Australia 11 points ahead and all to be decided in the Medal Race.
Smith/Ryan’s performance here has marked an impressive return to world class competition after injury has forced them off the race track since the 2014 ISAF Worlds. A surprise visit to the World Championships by Ryan’s father and sister yesterday, seemed to boost their performance as they delivered their best results of the series and brought themselves into Olympic qualification contention.
“As soon as we knew they were here we had the pressure and had to put on a good show for them,” grinned Ryan, before adding, “and I hope my brother has done the same today! This is huge for us and our first ever medal race at a Worlds. We didn’t expect this as we didn’t have the best year with injury issues and lack of training. We really want to earn our Olympic qualification place here.”
Of the four Ryan siblings, incredibly three are competing here in the 470 Class, with Will partnered with Mat Belcher and Jamie and Sasha in separate women’s partnerships.
Subject to ISAF ratification, the two nations so far qualified to Rio 2016 based on their results at the 2015 470 World Championships are Poland and Germany. One of Australia or Spain will also qualify based on their results in tomorrow's Medal Race.
470 Women – Top 10 Medal Race Teams
1. Lara Vadlau/Jolanta Ogar (AUT 431) - 35 pts
2. Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR 118) - 53 pts
3. Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA 9) - 65 pts
4. Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL 75) - 81 pts
5. Afrodite Kyranakou/Anneloes Van Veen (NED 216) - 91 pts
6. Anne Haeger/Briana Provancha (USA 1712) - 93 pts
7. Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Irmina Mrozek Gliszczynska (POL 11) - 99 pts
8. Annika Bochmann/Marlene Steinherr (GER 72) - 108 pts
9. Carrie Smith/Jaime Ryan (AUS 99) - 133 pts
10. Marina Gallego/Fatima Reyes (ESP 33) - 144 pts
Defending World Champions Mat Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) opened their day in third overall, and had to deliver if they wanted to stay on target to retain their title. But with only 2 points separating the top four boats the opportunities were wide open. Superb control of the race track gave the Australians a 7,1 scorecard and brought them back out on top, with Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic one point behind in second, and Russia’s Pavel Sozykin/Denis Gribanov 13 points behind in third.
Will Saturday’s double points medal race find the Australians and Croatians hunting each other down or sailing their own race? Both teams boast an impressive line-up of Championship titles and medals, with head to heads putting Australia on top. Here though, the fight is so finely balanced, with just a 1 point separation, guaranteeing a fascinating duel between Belcher/Ryan and Fantela/Marenic tomorrow. There is no medal certainty for either of them though, with the door open to any of the top eight teams to step up to a podium finish.
Jubilation for those who secured their nation’s place to the 2016 Olympic Games. Eight nations were still in the running for qualification going into race 10, but by the end it was all wrapped up for Finland, Germany, Argentina, Turkey and South Africa, leaving a three-way battle between Israel, China and Korea in race 11. With just 8 points separating the teams, it was anyone’s game. A final push from Israel’s Eyal Levin/Dan Froyliche secured a 14th place finish and carried them through.
Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson clinched South Africa’s slot to Rio 2016 with a race to spare, after a 21st place finish in race 10 was enough to give them the advantage they needed.
It was only five years ago that Jim competed in his first international event in the 420 Class, the 2010 420 Worlds raced on the same waters of Haifa Bay, finishing 5th overall - a memory not lost on him.
“Its been pretty amazing to come back here after 5 years. Back then we made gold fleet against all the best guys in the world. We were the outsiders who came in having got an invite from the International 420 Class, which was a great opportunity for us. Today we are standing here again and to have finished as fifth country to qualify. I love this place and I have loved my second world Championships here.
“I am really chuffed to have made it here and taken the African slot. It’s been a hard week.”
Hudson added, “The pressure was immense on all the teams that were trying to qualify and you could feel that in all the racing. The conditions here in Haifa are really shifty and really on and off pressure which made the racing extremely challenging. In the end it was an interesting game and there was a great contest.
“What this means with us qualifying here is that the African continental place remains open for the Rio 2016 Olympics, which means a second African country will qualify and go to the Games. In January 2016 the 470 African Championships will be a great celebration of the 470’s success as a truly international class and growing enthusiasm in Africa. We sailed not just for South Africa, but for our continent today." Click here for video interview with Jim/Hudson.
Set to contest their third Olympics are brothers Ates and Dines Cinar of Turkey. “Exactly ten months ago we started sailing again after injury, so it has been a really big marathon for us. We have been running hard and closed our eyes to just train really hard.
“We are brothers and we have been sailing together so long. It is easy to sail with your brother but at the same time it is really hard. He makes mistakes, I make mistakes and we shout at each other. I cannot explain it though, it is a special feeling.”
Reflecting on their Olympic journey, Ates added, “In Beijing it was a dream for us, as only one year before we had started sailing the 470 and we stopped University to get the Olympic slot. Back then we finished 52nd at the Worlds and got the quota. Here we finished 19th and we were still on the edge of qualifying.”
The six nations qualified to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games (subject to ISAF ratification) in leaderboard position are: Finland, Germany, Argentina, Turkey, South Africa and Israel.
470 Men – Top 10 Medal Race Teams
1. Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS 11) - 49 pts
2. Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO 83) - 50 pts
3. Pavel Sozykin/Denis Gribanov (RUS 5) - 63 pts
4. Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE 349) - 67 pts
5. Joonas Lindgren/Niklas Lindgren (FIN 7) - 67 pts
6. Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp (ESP 44) - 71 pts
7. Onán Barreiros Rodríguez/Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP 9) - 71 pts
8. Ferdinand Gerz/Oliver Szymanski (GER 10) - 76 pts
9. Carl-Fredrik Fock/Marcus Dackhammar (SWE 350) - 86 pts
10. Luke Patience/Elliot Willis (GBR 868) - 90 pts
Up next on the 470 Championship programme will be the 2016 470 World Championship in San Isidro, Argentina from 20-17 February 2016, followed by the 2016 470 European Championship in Palma, Mallorca from 5-12 April 2016.
470 World Championship Format
Racing gets underway on Monday 12 October, with a qualifying and final series for the 470 Men who will be split into two fleets for the 11 races followed by the Medal Race for the top ten teams. The 470 Women will race a single series of 10 races before the top ten advance to the Medal Race on Saturday 17 October.
Rio 2016 Olympic Qualification
The 2015 470 World Championships is an Olympic Qualification event for the Rio 2016 Olympics, with 6 nation places on offer in the 470 Men and 3 in the 470 Women. Find out more about qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and details of nations already qualified.
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