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Tokyo 2020: Sporty start to Test Event

Published on August 17th, 2019

Enoshima, Japan (August 17, 2019) – The official test event of Tokyo 2020, Ready Steady Tokyo – Sailing, got underway today with the first day of racing for the 10 Olympic events. For the 363 sailors from 47 nations, along with countless race officials, they got a quick start to what is intended as a dry run for the Tokyo 2020 Games.

After Typhoon Krosa made landfall to the southwest yesterday, its remnants provided strong winds and big waves to start the six days of competition.

The 470s held both the Men’s and Women’s World Championships on these very waters just last week, meaning their sailors will by now be very familiar with the conditions in Enoshima. One team who certainly enjoy sailing here are Jordi Xammar and Nicolas Rodriguez (ESP) in the 22-strong 470 Men’s fleet.

After finishing runners-up to the 2019 title, the Spaniards have made an electric start to Ready Steady Tokyo, winning both races on the opening day. And though they recognize it’s only Day One, they couldn’t hide how much they relish competing at this venue.

“Enoshima already produced very good conditions at the Worlds, and today it was perfect – 15 knots and big waves,” commented Xammar. “We had really good starts and good upwind and downwind speed. It’s just the first day and there is plenty to go, but we’re very happy with the feeling so far.”

“For sure we know about sailing here, but so do our competitors, so at the end it’s the same for everyone,” added Rodriguez. “We are really happy with our performance but we have to keep learning. It’s about who will remember us next year, not this year.”

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS), recently-crowned world champions, follow in second, with Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE), who finished third at the Worlds, in third here as well so far.

A similar scenario is unfolding in the 20-boat Women’s 470 fleet, where Worlds silver medallists Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) currently lead after two races with a second and a first.

A race win for Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Jolanta Ogar (POL) means they follow in second, with 2019 World Champions Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) third.

The athlete with the best start after three races is Yunxiu Lu (CHN) in the 20-board RS:X Women’s fleet, who won two races and came second in the other. Lu and her team have been training here ahead of Ready Steady Tokyo, in a variety of conditions, which has translated into early success on the water.

“Today was good, but also quite hard,” Lu assessed. “The waves and the wind were quite strong. It’s really interesting to sail here – when I arrived, for around 15 days there was no wind, then we had another 15 days of strong wind!”

Her teammate, and last year’s World Cup Series Enoshima winner, Peina Chen, is also involved at Ready Steady Tokyo, as they both vie for that coveted Tokyo 2020 spot.

“For us, this event is for training and to see if we can find any problems, so it’s very useful,” added Lu.

Tied on points in second and third respectively are Maja Dziarnowska (POL), who picked up the day’s third race win, and Emma Wilson (GBR).

In contrast, race wins were split between three athletes in the 24-man RS:X Men’s fleet, as Kiran Badloe (NED), Tom Squires (GBR), and Thomas Goyard (FRA) all picked up victories.

After a shaky 11th place in Race 1, Goyard followed his win with a second place to sit top overall so far. Squires and Mattia Camboni (ITA) follow to complete the top three.

In the 49er fleet, where 21 teams are competing, reigning Olympic champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) have made an ideal start to the test event, sitting first overall after winning two out of three races.

Fresh from SailGP Cowes, Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) have also started strongly here, winning their first race to help them to second. Australian brothers Will and Sam Phillips are third.

The British Sailing Team are also performing well in the 49erFX, with Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey topping the 23-strong fleet. Two wins out of three races puts them ahead of 2019 Pan American Games champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), with Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz (GER) currently in third place.

Today’s other race win went to Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN).

Over in the Finn fleet, where 22 sailors are competing, the early favorites have started well as 2018 World Champion and 2019 European runner-up Zsombor Berecz (HUN) impressed with a third and a race win.

He leads 2018 World Cup Series Enoshima winner Nicholas Heiner (NED), who was consistent with two seconds, and European Champion Giles Scott (GBR), who won the first race but finished sixth in the next.

A first and a second for Sam Meech (NZL) puts him as the early leader in the 35-strong Laser fleet. He’s two points ahead of Matt Wearn (AUS) and Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), who are tied on six points in second and third respectively.

Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR) clinched the other race win of the day, but combines that with a ninth to put him fourth overall.

Maria Erdi (HUN) leads the way in the 40-boat Laser Radial fleet with a first and a second. Last year’s World Cup Series Enoshima winner Marit Bouwmeester (NED) follows her, with 2019 World Champion Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) in third, having won the second race of the day.

Finally, the 21-strong Nacra 17 fleet is topped by Italian duo Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti, who claimed two wins and a third place. Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer (GER) took the other race win to put them second overall, ahead of Ben Saxton and Nikki Boniface (GBR).

Racing continues tomorrow at 12:00 local time with very light southwest winds and air temperature of 88° F in the forecast. The RS:X Men & Women, 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 fleets are scheduled to sail another three races, with the remaining fleet set to complete two.

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Racing in Enoshima commenced on Saturday August 17. The 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17, and RS:X fleets will conclude racing on August 21 with the 470s, Laser, Laser Radial, and Finns following on August 22.

Source: Liz Owen – World Sailing

Editor’s note: With multi-sport events such as the Pan Am Games and the Olympics, the contracted service to provide results for all sports tends to not understand our sport. World Sailing is onsite and working on the issue but when we published this story we were working off images. They are linked below:

Top North Americans:
One Person Dinghy – Men’s Laser: 11th Chris Barnard (USA)
One Person Dinghy – Women’s Laser Radial: 5th Erika Reineke (USA)
Two Person Dinghy – Men’s 470: 10th Stu McNay/ David Hughes (USA)
Two Person Dinghy – Women’s 470: 17th Nikole Barnes/ Lara Dallman-Weis (USA)
Two Person Skiff – Men’s 49er: 17th Andrew Mollerus/ Ian MacDiarmid (USA)
Two Person Skiff – Women’s 49erFx: 19th Stephanie Roble/ Maggie Shea (USA)
One Person Dinghy Heavy – Men’s Finn: 8th Luke Muller (USA)
Windsurfing- Men’s RS:X: 21st Pedro Pascual (USA)
Windsurfing- Women’s RS:X: 17th Farrah Hall (USA)
Multi-hull – Mixed Nacra 17: 18th Riley Gibbs/ Anna Weis (USA)

USA Team roster… click here.

Editor’s note: Trouble for the US Team found Nacra 17 athletes, Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.) and Anna Weis (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), and 49er athletes, Andrew Mollerus (Larchmont, N.Y.) and Ian MacDiarmid (Delray Beach, Fla.) who suffered through issues with their spinnaker poles.

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