MISTRAL WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS & OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION REGATTA
The Olympic Mistral class has two new World Champions after events
conspired against both of last year’s winners to deny them repeat
In the men’s event, Nikos Kaklamanakis (GRE), Olympic medallist and 2001
World Champion started strongly after a delay to racing caused by one or
two measurement issues, which needed to be resolved on the first day. He
led the regatta going into the fleet split after race four, but
subsequently became a little inconsistent, eventually finishing fourth
overall, a result he will expect to improve on over the coming months
leading up to next years championship in Cadiz.
Gal Fridman (ISR), the new Mistral World Champion, however started the
final races with an enthusiasm that matches his steady rise up the ISAF
Sailing Rankings from a position of 21 in May, to his current standing of
6, which is now sure to rise again, when the new rankings are released
later today. He scored a first, fourth and second in the first three races
after the split, and only once ventured outside of the top ten, in a result
he discarded. He eventually won the regatta a full twelve points ahead of
Ricardo Santos (BRA), who resides only one place below him in the ISAF
Sailing Rankings, in seventh.
Frenchman Julien Bontemps rounded off the podium positions, finishing the
World Championship with a string of results that saw him leapfrog Nikos on
the final day.
As a result of this, the final Olympic Qualification regatta of 2002, the
following twelve nations have, subject to ISAF ratification, qualified for
an entry into the Olympic Games in Athens 2004, in the Men’s windsurfing
Israel, Brazil, France, Great Britain, Argentina, Portugal, New Zealand,
Poland, Ukraine, Spain, Hungary, The Netherlands
The second qualification regatta, the 2003 ISAF World Sailing Championships
in Cadiz, will see a further fifteen nations qualify.
The Women’s fleet saw a return to dominance from Barbara Kendall (NZL) in
her first major regatta since winning the bronze medal at the Sydney
Olympics in 2000. She added the title of World Champion for the third time
to her impressive tally of an Olympic medal of every colour. After sailing
an amazing consistent series, Kendall won the penultimate race to establish
an unassailable lead over Faustine Merrett (FRA) to take her well-deserved
Pre-event favourite, Lee Lai Shan (HKG) unfortunately had to pull out of
the regatta early due to illness and left Hong Kong’s Olympic qualification
hopes pinned on Wang Shen Mei, who sailed a good regatta to assure (subject
to ratification by ISAF) that an athlete from Hong Kong will indeed be
competing in Athens 2004. She finished ninth overall.
After a shaky start and some results she may want to forget, ISAF Rolex
World Sailor of the Year nominee, Alessandra Sensini (ITA) sailed well in
the latter part of the event to finish second overall, overtaking Faustine
Merrett in the last race to secure the second podium slot.
The ten qualifying nations for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens are
(Subject to ISAF ratification):
New Zealand, Italy, France, Great Britain, Germany, China, Spain, Poland,
Hong Kong, Switzerland.
Only eight nations qualified at the same point for Sydney, and this time
around we can add Great Britain, Switzerland and Spain, whilst the USA has
failed to qualify at this point. Twelve further nations will qualify in
Cadiz next year.
Final Report – http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=3574
Penultimate Day – http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=3564
Day 4 – http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=3560
Day 3 – http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=3550
Day 2 – http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=3546
Day 1 – http://www.sailing.org/Article_content.asp?ArticleID=3540