Nineteen Nations Claim Rio Test Event Medals
Published: Monday, 24 August 2015
After eight days of competition the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta concluded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with 19 nations claiming medals.
(RS:X Men's top finishers - Greece's Byron Kokkalanis, China's Aichen Wang, France’s Pierre Le Coq)
One year before the Olympic Sailing Competition sailors from 50 nations showed their determination on the racecourse that will be used at Rio 2016.
An impressive finish for China’s Aichen Wang came in the Men’s RS:X, as the Chinese sailor only needed to finish in the top eight to win the gold.
Going in with a 17-point lead Wang knew what had to be done but that didn't make things easy for himself as his Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medal winning coach Tom Ashley (NZL) explains, "He made it very difficult for himself today to be honest. He didn't have a whole lot to do because the point's gap was pretty big.”
Wang finished with 23pts, followed by second place finisher Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) with 42pts and third place finish France’s Pierre Le Coq with 46pts.
In the Women’s RS:X, Charline Picon (FRA) won the event for her second time with 39-points. Picon ventured into the day tied on points with Poland's Malgorzata Bialecka with Blanca Manchon (ESP) two points behind. The three-way shoot out ended with Bialecka taking second and Manchon claiming third. Hong Kong’s Hei Man Chan finished ninth, with 62 points.
The Men's and Women's 470, Finn and Nacra 17 fleets drew the competition to a close on the Pão de Açúcar racetrack.
Australia's Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin claimed gold in the Nacra 17 with a complete performance across the 12 race series. The Australians finished every race within the top eight and their consistency proved to be invaluable as they won over France's Billy Besson and Marie Riou by five points.
It was every man for himself in the Men's 470 with minimal separation between the top five sailors heading into the Medal Race. The advantage was in the hands of Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) but the leading teams all had a shot at gold. Every team stuck to their own plan and it was Australia's Mathew Belcher and William Ryan who came out on top to take a second Olympic test event gold, with the Croatian team coming in second.
(Australia's Mathew Belcher and William Ryan)
Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) claimed gold in the Women's 470 after overnight leaders Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) were penalised on the racecourse. The British team finished in second and New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie held on to bronze.
Giles Scott (GBR) claimed the gold in the Finn division, with Tapio Nirkko (FIN) taking second.
Francesco Marrai (ITA) took gold in the Laser division with Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) coming in second and Tom Burton's (AUS) behind in third.
Lithuania's Gintare Scheidt grabbed the gold in the Laser Radial despite receiving a discretionary penalty in advance of the Medal Race. Scheidt was awarded four extra points for breaching the class rules leaving her third overall going into the final event. Evi Van Acker (BEL) and Marit Bouwmeester (NED) completed the podium.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) confirmed their status as the leading 49er sailors taking gold in the division.
(Brazil's Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze)
Home nation favourites Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) stole the show in the 49erFX, coming from behind to clinch gold. The pair came back from a nine-point deficit between Italian team Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich.
The countdown to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is now fully on. In one year, sailors will battle for the ultimate honour within the sport – an Olympic gold medal.
Full race results are available through the ISAF website: www.sailing.org/olympics/rio2016/results