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Getting a measure at the Finn Gold Cup

Published on December 13th, 2019

Sixty-two Finn sailors from 23 nations have gathered for the penultimate class world championship before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, with racing to be held from December 16 to 20 in Melbourne, Australia.

As well as being the Oceania nation qualification event for the 2020 Games, the Finn Gold Cup is also being used by many teams as either a qualifying event or an indication event towards selecting who will go to Tokyo, both for those countries already qualified as well as those who will try to qualify their country in the two remaining Continental qualifiers in 2020.

Most of the sailors who will be competing in Tokyo next August are in Melbourne. The line up includes defending world champion, Zsombor Berecz from Hungary, along with four-time Gold Cup winner and current Olympic and European champion, Giles Scott from Britain.

The strong field also includes Nicholas Heiner from the Netherlands, former world champions Max Salminen from Sweden, Jorge Zarif from Brazil, and Ed Wright from Britain as well as Andy Maloney and Josh Junior from New Zealand.

Many countries are using this event as a selection event for Tokyo 2020, with New Zealand, USA, and Canada yet to name their representatives for the Olympics. Many more countries have yet to qualify but also still using the event to observe or select possible sailors for Tokyo should they qualify next year.

For the Oceania qualifier, only Australia has entries here, so for those sailors it is about putting in a good performance to stake a claim to win the spot. Jake Lilley, Australia’s representative in Rio in 2016, is up against Oliver Tweddell, returning from injury after a long time away, as well as a group of young hopefuls.

“When you are kid, the Olympics is all you ever dream of, to represent at the Olympics and to bring home that medal,” said Lilley. “I’m still chasing that dream and it’s very much alive. It excites me to get out of bed every day and give it my best and keep growing and learning and it’s fantastic to be involved in this sport and in this class.

“I will just try to put together the best event that I can. Being the worlds is always a little bit extra, a bit more feeling a bit more emotion and excitement involved so I can’t wait to get underway.”

Tweddell had only received full medical clearance in August and has been building himself back up from there. “I am very excited to get racing again and it is pretty cool to have the Finn Gold Cup held in home waters. Port Phillip Bay is a great venue to sail in and will provide a wide array of conditions for us.”

An opening series of 10 races from December 16 to 20 is scheduled, to be followed by the final race and medal race on December 21.

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North America: Competing for the continent will be Tom Ramshaw and Kyle Martin from Canada and Caleb Paine, Luke Muller, and Eric Anderson from the USA.

While Paine delivered the lone medal from the Rio 2016 Olympics for North America, he hasn’t been at that level this quad, but both Ramshaw and Muller have shown they can find the front of the fleet.

With the Finn not included in the proposed event program for Paris 2024, the 2020 Olympics appears to be last call for the Finn Class, so the urgency is on among this group at the World Championship to make a strong case for competing in Tokyo next year.

Source: Finn Class, Scuttlebutt

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