Chinese Sailors Dominate At ISAF Sailing World Cup
Published: Monday, 21 September 2015
The final day at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao was filled with tension as the medal races decided the podium places, Rio 2016 Olympic qualification spots and Abu Dhabi World Cup Final positions.
Sailors in the top three of each fleet also received a share of the 150,000 Euro prize fund.
Light wind and strong currents maintained throughout the week with those reading the conditions to full effect reaping the rewards. A 5-7 south eastern breeze made for a tense finale with sailors aiming to leave nothing on the water.
Chinese sailors dominated the day taking gold in the Men's 470, Finn, Laser Radial and the Men's and Women's RS:X. Meanwhile, Singapore's Justin Liu and Denise Lim in the Nacra 17, Laser sailor Lorenzo Chiavarini (GBR) and Japan's Women's 470 team took the spoils in their fleets.
Singapore's Justin Liu and Denise Lim stylishly wrapped up gold in the Nacra 17 with a medal race victory. It was their tenth race win of the week and with gold, they have qualified Singapore for a Rio 2016 Nacra 17 spot. Zijin Wen and Rubei Yuan (CHN) and Tat Choi Fung and Yu Ting Chan (HKG) were awarded silver and bronze.
(Photo: Singapore's Justin Liu and Denise Lim/Straits Times)
Liu and Lim worked their way through the fleet during the Medal Race and finished 51 seconds clear of fifth place finishers Japan's Hiroki Goto and Wakako Tabata.
"It's amazing," says Liu. "There were so many challenges to make it here and to try and qualify the country. To be able to do it is amazing. It'll be our first Olympics so there is so much to look forward to."
In the Women's 470 there was cause for Japanese merriment as the team snapped up gold and silver respectively.
Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) held onto their overnight lead while a second in the medal race promoted Akiyo Yamaguchi and Eri Hatayama (JPN) into silver medal position.
Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao (CHN) completed the Women's 470 podium.
It was a three way shoot out in the Men's 470 between the Austrian, Chinese and Spanish teams. Four points separated them going into the final race and it was China's Hao Lan and Chao Wang who prevailed.
David Bargehr and David Mahr (AUT) finished with the silver, while Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera's (ESP) received the bronze.
(China's Hao Lan and Chao Wang)
The advantage going into the Laser Medal Race belonged to Great Britain's Lorenzo Chiavarini as he owned a 17 point lead. He delivered the goods with a sixth place finish to complete a comfortable victory.
Croatia's Stipanovic finished second overall and Pavlos Kontides (CYP) took third.
Chinese Laser Radial sailor Dongshuang Zhang loves took her third consecutive victory at the event with another professional performance. Zhang finished second in the medal race which confirmed her as gold medallist after the second placed Isabella Bertold (CAN) finished eighth overall.
Despite finishing 17 points clear of her rivals, taking another World Cup gold medal, 12,000 Euros in prize money and booking a spot at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final Zhang was less than impressed with her performance.
“The race went very well, better than yesterday,” explained Zhang. “I'm not very satisfied with the regatta, I made a lot of small mistakes which I will work on little by little.”
It was double gold for China in the Men's and Women's RS:X with Chunzuang Liu and Jiahui Wu clinching gold in their respected fleets.
Wu led the Women's RS:X fleet from the first day but heading into the medal race Peina Chen (CHN) was firmly in contention, just six points off the leader. Chen finished one place ahead of Wu in the Medal Race but it wasn't enough to topple her as Wu sealed gold.
"There was little wind and a lot of pumping," explained Wu after racing, "but I am very happy with the win. It was a great competition for me and the less wind suited my style."
Pei Ling Chen (CHN) took the Medal Race victory to pick up bronze.
Not much separated the Men's RS:X fleet throughout the final race with tensions high but Liu managed to put himself in a good position. A second place confirmed his gold medal and upon crossing the finish line he let out a triumphant, "woohoo."
"I performed really well, better than normal,” says Liu. “Over the regatta there has been good and bad, but overall it has been good and I have learned a lot. We have made great progress as a nation in windsurfing with tough exercises."
Bing Ye (CHN) and Zhichao Zang (CHN) completed the podium. China’s Aichen Wang finished in a disappointing eighth place.
China's Lei Gong overthrew Luwen Shen in the Finn category to snap up a hard earned gold medal.
Gong and Shen battled hard throughout the week with very little separating them on the racetrack. The advantage belonged to Shen going into the medal race as he led Gong by five points.
However it was Gong's experience that shone through as he took a convincing bullet with Shen sailing through in fourth. One point was the difference at the end of the day.
For China's Finn team it was a job well done throughout the week as they booked the nation a spot at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Attention now turns to the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final (Oct 27-Nov 1) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The best placed Asian and International sailors from ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao have booked their spot on the start line with the remaining sailors to be invited based on the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.