France and Poland lead RS:X Worlds
Published on February 25th, 2020
Victoria, AUS (February 25, 2020) – The opening day for the 116 sailors competing in the 2020 RS:X World Championships got off to a good start with three races completed.
After a slight postponement, the wind soon filled in and once the fleets arrived at the race course on Port Philip Bay, there was an idyllic 15 knots blowing in from the south creating a fast and flat race track with relatively steady conditions that offered an abundance of tactical options.
The men’s racers were up first with the 70 men sailors split evenly between blue and yellow fleet racing for their qualifying stage. This meant that the Dutch duo of reigning Olympic champion Dorian Van Rijsselberghe and reigning World champion Kiran Badloe would not race against each other on the opening day, with both seeking to represent their country at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
After three races it was Badloe making the best case, sitting in second place overall and having scored a 2, 1, 2 to be just a point behind overall leader, Pierre Le Coq from France who scored a strong 1, 2, 1. In third place overall is Thomas Goyard (FRA) who managed to score 3, 6, 2 from today’s racing.
“I’d like to go to the Olympic Games but I am also keen to defend my title at the same time,” said Badloe. “We (Dorian van Rijsselberghe) are still good mates and we haven’t got much of a rivalry just yet this week. We are good mates off the water, we live together and share the same car down to the venue together so as mates its fine but on the water we both want to beat each other.”
Van Rijsselberghe had a slow start to the event scoring an 18 place in the first race before resuming a more normal service scoring a 1, 4 in races 2 and 3 respectively.
Looking further down the fleet, there are a number of interesting little battles coming through. Israelis Tom Reuveny and Shahar Zubari sit in 7th and 8th place overall and are separated by only two points after the opening day. There are also three Frenchmen in the top 10 overall as well as two Poles. All of these teams are using these championships as part of the athlete selection process, proving how intense the racing over the next four days is going to prove to be.
In the battle for the Oceania Olympic spot, it is New Zealand’s Antonio Cozzolino who has just edged in front of Australia’s Grae Morris. Whilst these two sailors sit a little lower down the rankings, the urgency to beat the other will remain all week and through to the final leg of the final race on Saturday.
The women’s fleet of 46 boards followed the men and also notched up their scheduled three races onto the scoreboard. At the end of the day it is Poland’s Maja Dziarnowska who was the most consistent in scoring 2, 5, 4 and she holds a comfortable 6 point lead over Emma Wilson from Great Britain in second place overall.
The 2018 World Champion from the Netherlands, Lilian de Geus, sits in third place overall and took the win in the final race of the day. De Geus narrowly missed out on a medal at last year’s event and will be looking to rectify that at this event before she heads to Tokyo.
“These conditions are my favorite, I could do with a little more wind as I love these planning conditions,” noted Dziarnowska. “The forecast for tomorrow makes me really excited and I just hope it is raceable – if its over 30 knots it will be difficult for the race committee.”
Dziarnowska is looking for selection to represent Poland in Tokyo and has set a marker down to her compatriots with her opening days results. The other major battle for selection sits with again with Israel who have three sailors in the top ten. It was Maya Morris who came out blazing today and scored 4, 8, 11 to sit in fourth place overall ahead of Noy Drihan in eighth and Katy Spychakov in ninth.
In the antipodean battle it is again New Zealand ahead in the form of Veerl ten Have who is leading the two young Australian ladies.
Representing Mexico are Ignacio Berenguer (44th) and Mariana Aguilar Chavez Peon (30th), with both to also compete Tokyo 2020. USA selection continues for the men between Pedro Pascual (23rd) and Geronimo Nores (29th) along with Canadians women Nikola Girke (31st) and Olivia Mew (41st). As the lone USA woman, Farrah Hall (26th) will secure her nomination for Tokyo by merely competing.
The forecast for tomorrow is completely different to today, with a drop in temperatures, rain and a strong southerly breeze coming through for a plan of three races.
The men race in two fleets for qualifying before splitting into gold and silver fleets while the women race in a single fleet throughout the championship. The five day series is from February 25 to 29.
Source: RS:X Class