Published: Friday, 11 September 2015

More than 240 sailors from 37 nations will be in Qingdao, China for the next ISAF Sailing World Cup installment (Sept 14-20).

Isaf World Cup Final Spots On Offer At Qingdao Event 1

On offer will be world class racing across nine Olympic fleets, Abu Dhabi ISAF Sailing World Cup Final spots, Rio 2016 Olympic Games places, a share of the US$150,000 prize fund, as well as World Cup medals.

As the Asian continental qualification regatta for the Men's and Women's 470, Finn and Nacra 17, the competition in Qingdao is set to be fierce, with a depth of international sailing talent within the respective fleets.

Sailors will be aiming to book their place on the start line of the Abu Dhabi ISAF Sailing World Cup Final at the end of October.

China's Aichen Wang will be the man to beat in the Men's RS:X after he dominated at the Olympic test event, the Aquece Rio ­International Sailing Regatta 2015. Under the leadership of Beijing 2008 gold medallist Tom Ashley (NZL), Wang led from start to finish.

Following a silver medal at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao in 2014, Wang will be aiming to go one better to pick up his first World Cup gold.

Isaf World Cup Final Spots On Offer At Qingdao Event 2

(China's Aichen Wang)

Mateo Sanz (SUI) will head into the Men's RS:X competition off the back of a solid result at the test event that saw him qualify for the Swiss Sailing Team.

"My next step is to qualify the nation for the Olympic Games in Oman as the next six countries will qualify, so I want to be there,” says Sanz. "I expect a physical regatta with light wind where we will have to pump a lot, but everything could be. I haven't done anything special for this event, as my team only decided to go short time ago ­ but [I have done] water training combined with endurance and strength sessions.”

A fleet of 30 will race in Qingdao with Wang's and Sanz's main threats likely to come from Spain's Joan Cardona, Hong Kong's Michael Cheng, Italy's Daniele Benedetti and Lithuania's Juozas Bernotas.

The Women's RS:X fleet will be spearheaded by a strong Chinese contingent that often revel in the light conditions that Qingdao has to offer.

Isaf World Cup Final Spots On Offer At Qingdao Event 3

(Photo: SCMP/HKG's Michael Cheng)

China's Jiali Sun enjoyed the conditions in 2014, taking a solid victory over Russia's Olga Maslivets. Sun returns for the 2015 edition aiming to stake her claim and qualify for the Abu Dhabi World Cup Final.

Alongside Sun will be 20 other competitors aiming for a share of the prize fund, a World Cup Final spot and a World Cup honour. Peina Chen (CHN) will be looking to recapture the title she won at the inaugural World Cup Qingdao in 2013, while 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds gold medalist Yunxiu Lu (CHN) will be searching for her first major senior title.

The fleet is packed full of exceptional Laser sailors who will all be gunning for the podium. Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA), Wannes Van Laer (BEL), Bruno Fontes (BRA), Karl Martin Rammo (EST), Cy Thompson (ISV) and Colin Cheng (SIN) all have the capabilities of getting it right on the night and posing a challenge.

China's Dongshuang Zhang is undefeated at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao. At the 2013 edition she match raced Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) to the back of the pack to take gold, while in 2014 she came out on top in a four way shoot out for gold between Tina Mihelic (CRO), Sara Winther (NZL) and Drozdovskaya.

Isaf World Cup Final Spots On Offer At Qingdao Event

(China's Dongshuang Zhang)

The Belorussian and New Zealand sailors return to Qingdao in a bid to defeat Zhang. Further sailors aiming to put themselves in the mix include Ashley Stoddart (AUS), Isabella Bertold (CAN), Alison Young (GBR), Manami Doi (JPN) and Elizabeth Sin (SIN).

Racing across the nine Olympic fleets is scheduled to commence on September 16 with medal races bringing the regatta to a close on September 20.