Selection continues at RS:X Worlds
Published on February 24th, 2020
The 2020 RS:X World Championships has attracted 117 sailors from 31 nations for the five day series on February 25-29 in Victoria, AUS. As the Tokyo 2020 Olympic is to be the last edition to use the RS:X equipment for the windsurfing event, this will not only be the last World Championship of this Olympic cycle but the last one ever as an Olympic event.
Looking ahead to the racing, the ambitions of those coming into this event will vary as wildly as the wind shifts out on the race course. While some of the sailors have secured their nation’s nomination for Tokyo 2020, others will need a top performance at the Worlds to gain it.
Tom Squire from Great Britain is one such athlete who is safe in the knowledge that he is personally heading to Tokyo, but has set his own ambition for this event.
“There are a lot of people trying to get selected for the Olympics here, working at their best and sailing at their best,” observed Squire. “My goal is to get a medal here, because statistically you increase your chances of medalling at the Olympics if you medal in the last year before the Olympics. I haven’t medalled yet so there is pressure on me to do that.”
Others in the fleet will have much more intense battles throughout the next five days of racing. There are Olympic qualification spots up for grabs as the event is the Oceania Olympic qualifier – with an antipodean battle on the cards between Australia and New Zealand in both the men and women fleets.
The Australians have loaded the cards in their favour with 5 men and 2 women versus a lone New Zealander in both the men and women fleets. The highest ranked sailor at the end of the week will secure their country a spot at the Tokyo Olympic Games.
There are also clashes between sailors from the same country, fighting to become the sailor that represents their nation in Tokyo. These World Championships will be the final athlete selection event for a number of countries such as Israel, Poland, France, Canada, the Netherlands, and USA.
For the reigning Olympic Champion, Dorian van Rijsselberghe from the Netherlands, you could be forgiven for thinking he would have a free pass to Tokyo 2020. But over the course of this cycle, his training partner and good friend, Kiran Badloe, has become an increasing challenge to the double Olympic medallist van Rijsselberghe to the extent that Badloe comes into this event as the reigning World Champion. The Dutch selectors having a big headache to try and resolve by the end of the week between two very close rivals but also closer friends.
The picture is very much the same in the women fleet with a number of countries using these championships to select their sailor. Stefania Elfutina from Russia does not need to worry about this though and is in the same comfortable position as Tom Squires and is guaranteed to go to Tokyo. “This event is very important for many countries for selection but for me, I will enjoy and try to do my best,” said Elfutina.
While Mexico has Ignacio Berenguer and Mariana Aguilar Chavez Peon preparing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, selection continues for USA men between Geronimo Nores and Pedro Pascual along with Canadians women Nikola Girke and Olivia Mew. As the lone USA woman, Farrah Hall will secure her nomination for Tokyo by merely competing.
Racing will start February 25 from 1300 local time. The men will be racing in two fleets and will have two days of qualifying racing before splitting into gold and silver fleets for the following two days before the top ten break off to compete in the medal race. The women will be racing in a single fleet for four days before doing the same and splitting up for the medal race on February 29.
Source: RS:X Class