Iker Martinez Found Guilty of Misconduct

Published on August 9th, 2018

Iker Martinez has been deemed to have bad manners, bad sportsmanship, and unethical behavior. That is the decree of the Spanish superstar, famous for two Olympic medals and 2011 World Sailor of the Year Award.

To back up, Martinez is seeking to compete again at the Olympic Games, pursuing the Nacra 17 mixed multihull event. His plan was to compete at the 2018 Sailing World Championships, an immensely critical test to prove to his national authority he is capable, and to insure the country qualifies for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

Iker Martinez

However, when Martinez submitted his boat for measurement at the World Championships, the committee found he had deliberately modified it in breach of the class rules and he concealed the modification. In short, they believed his intent was to cheat to improve the boat’s performance.

With racing for the Nacra 17 planned for August 5 through 12, and his boat not certified, Martinez did not compete but rather faced jury hearings on August 3, 5, and 6, which ultimately led to a misconduct hearing on August 8. In this hearing the jury concluded that he:

• Deliberately modified the boat in breach of the class rules and he concealed the modification, thereby committing a breach of good sportsmanship, contrary to RRS 69.1(a).

• Did not tell the truth to the Event Disciplinary Investigating Officer, thereby committing a breach of good sportsmanship and unethical behavior contrary to RRS 69.1(a).

• Did not tell the truth to the International Jury during the August 8 hearing, thereby committing a breach of good sportsmanship and unethical behavior, contrary to RRS 69.1(a).

With three strikes against him, one would figure Martinez had earned a one-way ticket to the gallows. However, since he never raced in the event, the range of penalties available to the jury was limited. As a result, Martinez was only banned from the venue as of August 9.

But this isn’t over for Martinez as the incident now goes beyond the event and is directed to World Sailing which will investigate and decide whether sanctions wider than the event itself, including national or international sanctions, is appropriate. This could include exclusion from the 2020 Olympics.

As for Martinez, he provided a twitter statement on August 9 which is translated here: “Many people have called me to support me, thank you very much everyone. I have no doubt that with a little time and common sense you will get to the bottom of the question and everything will be clarified. A hug to everyone.”

Editor’s note: The Nacra 17 Class has distributed a statement regarding the Iker Martinez protest: click here.

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The Sailing World Championships, held once every four years for all ten Olympic classes, has 1,400 sailors from 85 nations in close to 1,000 boats for competition. There are also two kiteboarding events competing, which along with the Olympic classes, have their competition staggered from August 2 to 12 in Aarhus, Denmark.

In addition to World titles, the event is the first and largest country qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with 40% of the places being decided. For information on how nations qualify for the 2020 Olympics, click here.

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