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Preview of Race Day 8 at Rio Games

Published on August 15th, 2016

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (August 15, 2016) – With just seven knots breeze forecast from the north, the prospect of getting today’s racing away on time at 1300 hours looks shaky.

It’s going to be the hottest day for a while, with 28 degrees Celsius set for race time. The crowd on Flamengo Beach will be cheering on the Men’s Laser and Women’s Laser Radial fleets as they watch the battle for the medals on Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course.

It’s a big day for the 470s with three races scheduled, and the Skiff fleets go out to sea for three races on the rolling waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) has already secured Croatia’s first ever medal in Olympic sailing with the silver guaranteed. With a ten-point buffer on Tom Burton (AUS), the only sailor that can threaten Croatian gold, will Stipanovic look for a match race with the Australian? Burton meanwhile has the dilemma of going all out for gold, or doing his best to defend silver from Sam Meech (NZL) who is ten points behind his fellow Antipodean.

Then again Meech has a similar worry, with three hungry athletes desperate to get on that podium. Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) is the closest threat to the Kiwi, nine points back, and a point further back are the reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) and Robert Scheidt (BRA). No surprises for guessing who the crowd on Flamengo Beach will be cheering for. The legendary Brazilian has a massive task on his hands to win bronze today, but if anyone is man enough for the job, it’s the five-time Olympic medalist.

Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
The fight for gold in the Women’s Laser Radial will be a three-way battle between Marit Bouwmeester (NED), Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) and Annalise Murphy (IRL). For the Dutch and Irish sailors, this is familiar territory as there are similarities with the showdown four years ago at London 2012. Bouwmeester is looking to improve on London silver, Murphy would just like to stay on the podium after tearfully missing out last time.

The difference from London is that Bouwmeester has eight points on Rindom and ten on Murphy. Also looking to attack for the silver and bronze medals are the competitors in fourth and fifth, 2012 bronze medalist Evi van Acker (BEL) and Tuula Tenkanen (FIN). American Paige Railey barely made the cut, but will be sailing.

Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have extended their lead over arch-rivals Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS). Once again, whatever the wildly variable conditions in Rio can throw at the Croatians, they seem to have an answer and yesterday the result was 3,4 for Croatia, 8,10 for Australia. With an 11-point gap between them, Belcher will really need to turn it on for the final three qualifying races if he’s to retain his Olympic crown. Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) are in third. Three races are scheduled on Escola Naval. The USA 470 Men’s team, Stu McNay and Dave Hughes, stand in sixth and are also in position for a medal if they put together three good races.

Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) hold the lead, although the team now closest to them are the Americans four points back, Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha. Third place is held by Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO), although just a point behind are reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA) and a point further behind are Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN). With three races on the cards out on Escola Naval course, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) have to put in a sensational day to get back in medal contention after picking up a UFD start-line disqualification yesterday.

Men’s Skiff – 49er
Copacabana course will present a new challenge for the Men’s 49er fleet, and the big waves could make for a fun three races for those who don’t struggle with sea sickness. No surprise that Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) are leading, but only by two points from Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) who are pushing the Kiwis hard. Then it’s more than 15 points back to third placed Lukasz Przbytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) who have a big bunch of teams breathing down their necks and all within a couple of points of each other: Ireland, Japan, Australia, Spain and Denmark.

Thomas Barrows and Joe Morris (USA) were able to finish fourth in one race, but were disqualified for a port-starboard incident in that race. They are looking to improve and today is their opportunity.

Women’s Skiff – 49erFX
If the wind comes in the 49erFX racing on Niterói we’ll see some of the most spectacular sailing yet in the Olympic competition. Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) are just ahead of Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), although the Brazilians sail in these waters more than anyone so that could be a factor today. On equal points with Brazil are Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL), and just five points further back are reigning World Champions Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP).

Paris Henken and Helena Scutt (USA) are back out on the water Monday in the 49erFX. This young crew are the Cinderella story so far in the sailing Games. The pair had an impressive 4-1-5 yesterday and stand in ninth place. If the keep it up, they will surely move up the leaderboard. They have six races scheduled on Monday and Tuesday. Their Medal Race will be on Thursday.

How to follow the Olympics… click here.

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Source: World Sailing

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