Ominous forecast to begin Radial Worlds
Published on February 22nd, 2020
Melbourne, Australia (February 22, 2020) – All three medalists from the Rio 2016 Olympics will take to the water off Sandringham Yacht Club to compete in the 2020 Laser Radial Women’s Championship on February 23-28. They head a star-studded field of 106 competitors from 40 countries, many of whom will be trying to qualify as their country’s representative at Tokyo 2020.
Leading the charge will be Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands, the 2016 gold and 2012 silver medalist at the Olympics and a six-times world champion in the event. Marit has been training in Melbourne since December and won the Australian Championship in early January.
Although she has already been selected for the Olympics by the Dutch Federation, she will still have a battle on her hands during the Worlds from countrywomen Mirthe Akkerman, Maxim Jonker, and Daphne van der Vaart who all pushed her during the Australian Championship.
Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) is ranked number one in the world at present and is the defending world champion, having also won the title in 2015. She was 13th at the London Olympics and won the bronze medal at Rio 2016.
Annalise Murphy (IRE) was part of an epic Laser Radial medal race at the London Olympics, where she missed out on the bronze by the barest of margins. She made up for that at Rio, taking silver behind Marit Bouwmeester.
Another former world champion, Alison Young of Great Britain, is currently ranked second in the world while Emma Plasschart of Belgium is ranked third.
Among those competing for a place at the Olympics are two Finnish sailors, Tuula Tenkinen and Monika Mikkola. Ranked ninth and 14th respectively, they present a welcome challenge to the Finn selectors.
Even more intense will be the rivalry for Kim and Lin Pletikos of Slovenia, who are not only competing for an Olympic spot, but for bragging rights around the family dinner table.
With North American nations continuing their selection for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Sarah Douglas leads a Canadian contingent that includes Maura Dewey, Clara Gravely, and Coralie Vittecoq. Five sailors will represent the USA, with Charlotte Rose leading the nation’s selection series with Paige Railey and Erika Reineke close behind.
The home crowd is also hoping to see a sailor selected for Tokyo. Western Australian Zoe Thomson qualified the country for the Olympics at the test event in Enoshima, the Olympic venue, but she will come under intense pressure from Queenslander Mara Stransky.
Stransky dominated the Australian Championships, finishing in fourth place behind three Dutch sailors and over 100 points ahead of her teammate. Both sailors suffered a black flag disqualification at the Australian Championships and will be hoping to sail “clean” at this event.
There are 19 Australians in the field for the Worlds. Assuming there are no upsets, either Thomson or Stransky will need to finish in the top 10 to secure a seat on the plane to Tokyo.
The championship is scheduled to start at 2pm tomorrow, with two races per day for six days, finishing on February 28.
The forecast for the first day of racing is currently for very light and variable winds, which will make it almost impossible for the race committee to get even one race completed. However, this is Melbourne, where conditions can change by the hour. The sailors who have been here training in strong southerlies for the past two months will be hoping that it does.
Source: Roger McMillan/Laser 2020 Media