Gold for Scott, silver for Patience and Bithell
Four new World Champions were decided today as dusk fell over Perth after the first round of medal racing.
Ashore, spectators lined the beach, filling the grandstand at Bather’s Bay to see who would be the medallists in the Finn, Laser Radial, Men’s 470 and Women’s RS:X classes.
Giles Scott added the Finn world title to his European, one of three British crews winning medals across today’s four finals.
Following yesterday’s devastating day for former leader Ben Ainslie, Scott, who started the day in overall first place in the heavyweight dinghy fleet, needed to prevent any boats getting between him and the second-placed Dutchman Pieter Jan Postma to claim the Finn Gold Cup for the first time.
Up until the final run of the three-lap race, Denmark’s former World Champion Jonas Hoegh Christensen was sandwiched between the race leader Postma and Scott, a position that would relegate the Skandia Team GBR sailor to silver.
But the 24-year-old slowly reeled his competitors back in, and eventually overtook the Dane on the final downwind leg to cross the line in second behind Postma and claim the world title by just one point.
“World Champion sounds pretty good doesn’t it?!” said Scott. “Obviously I’m over the moon – it’s taken me back a little bit and I’m not really quite sure what to make of it at the moment!”
Scott’s goal coming into the event was to be crowned World Champion, which would go some way towards the disappointment of missing out on the British Finn selection spot, who went to Ben Ainslie. Ainslie, despite of his double disqualification yesterday, which put him out of the today’s medal race, turned out to watch his teammates in the medal race and was quick to congratulate the new World Champion.
Scott admitted: “A month ago I was actually probably struggling for a bit of motivation, especially having lost the selection and that slowly sinking in. Fortunately I managed to pull myself through that and put some decent training in and I managed to get myself in the situation where I could win the Worlds and it’s just great.”
Scott confessed that he didn’t have the easiest of medal races, stating “it’s a bit of a story of all my medal races recently! I like to keep things close! It was very tricky because as soon as I made any ground up on Jonas, PJ came and slapped one on me and sent me back down again. It was difficult but great to pull through on the last run.
Skandia Team GBR also secured the bronze medal with Ed Wright. The defending World Champion had a bad start, re-crossing the start line, thinking he was over early, and had to comeback through the fleet to finish the race in fifth and maintain his overall third spot.
Wright was pleased with his podium finish after a tough start to the week, and was pleased to relinquish his crown to one of his teammates.
“I struggled a little bit early on with an OCS so I was on the back foot really from the second day so I’m pretty happy to come away with a bronze. It’s amazing how everyone just keeps on improving and improving [in the British Finn squad] and it’s great for Giles to go away with the win. It’s probably better for at least another Brit to win if it can’t be me!”
While Postma was first over the line, cheered on by a big crowd of supporters on the breakwater, the man from the Netherlands had to settle for the silver medal with 31 points overall.
“I wanted to win here.” Postma said. “Giles did a better job. He won this week and congrats to him.”
Top 10 results:
|3||WRIGHT Edward Martin||GBR||8||2||(37)BFD||1||1||4||2||3||4||10||10||82||45|
|4||HOEGH CHRISTENSEN Jonas||DEN||4||7||4||7||4||-12||4||12||3||3||6||66||54|
|10||KLJAKOVIC GASPIC Ivan||CRO||3||6||(37)BFD||5||7||15||13||11||5||16||12||130||93|
World number one Marit Bouwmeester, from the Netherlands held off determined Belgian Evi van Acker to claim her first world championship title.
“I feel awesome,” she said. “I wanted to dominate the week. It was a really, really tough week and I was happy.”
Only six points separated the two going into the Medal Race and while van Acker worked her way to a point where she could have taken the title, a penalty for pumping kept Bouwmeester ahead on points until the finish.
“I think I could have won,” van Acker said. “Some mistakes were made, that’s what cost me the gold medal.”
America’s Paige Railey won the bronze by the smallest of margins, taking the medal by a single point. “It’s a huge relief. I’m extremely happy to see all the hard work pay off,” she said.
The Laser Radial Medal Race sailors had winds of 8-13 knots, but the pressure constantly changed. The spectator breakwater also played a role in defining race tactics.
Czech Republic’s Veronika Fenclova came from sixth to win the Medal Race, which saw many different leaders, but Bouwmeester’s fourth place finish was enough to secure the world title.
Skandia Team GBR’s Alison Young came home sixth to take seventh overall, Britain’s highest place finisher in the Laser Radial.
Top 10 results
|2||van ACKER Evi||BEL||1||1||4||2||2||3||-19||2||13||19||6||72||53|
With an 18-point lead going into the Medal Race, Australia’s Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page sailed a smooth safe race to comfortably complete their successful defence of the men’s 470 world title. Their fourth place finish was enough to secure Malcolm Page, the Beijing Gold medallist, his fifth world championship title.
“We didn’t have to win,” Page said after the race. “We didn’t have to be so risky. It’s just as satisfying. I’m sure anybody in the fleet would’ve loved to swap with us, to be in that position. Coming across fourth on the line [in the Medal race], it’s just fine.”
Great Britain’s Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell led the field for the entire race to cross the line first to take silver. This is their second World Championship silver since teaming up in 2009.
“I’m most proud of our partnership,” Bithell said. “We have had a lot of pressure this week that we have had to deal with. We have two other very successful teams so we have had to chase them all week, so I’m just proud that we have stuck together as a team and, well, the rest is history.”
“We’re feeling great, we’re really happy,” said Patience. “It’s been a really long week and me and Stuart have worked so hard for this regatta. So much of our training for the last three or four months has been towards this week. I know we’re not standing on the gold position on the podium, and that’s what we intended to be, but it’s been a hard week and the Australians have sailed fantastically, so we’re happy to be stood on the podium with a silver medal. We’ll be having a good Christmas because of that!”
Second place at the World Championship must securely be enough for the Team GBR selectors to give Patience and Bithell the nod for the British 470 Men’s berth at London 2012.
The biggest cheers at the boat park were reserved for bronze medallists Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) were greeted by an excited crowd at the Royal Perth Yacht Club Annexe. “We fought really hard,” Marenic said. “We deserve the bronze.”
Nick Rogers and Chris Grube ended their regatta in tenth overall, following a ninth place in their medal race.
Top 10 results
|1||BELCHER Mathew||PAGE Malcolm||AUS||-9||1||1||1||1||3||1||1||6||5||8||37||28|
|2||PATIENCE Luke||BITHELL Stuart||GBR||5||1||1||1||1||-27||9||3||8||9||2||67||40|
|3||FANTELA Sime||MARENIC Igor||CRO||22||2||2||5||2||1||8||(41)DSQ||1||3||16||103||62|
|4||KLIGER Gideon||SELA Eran||ISR||2||12||9||11||3||2||4||(41)BFD||5||1||20||110||69|
|5||CHARBONNIER Nicolas||MION Jeremie||FRA||14||6||2||10||8||-26||2||9||11||12||6||106||80|
|6||LEBOUCHER Pierre||GAROS Vincent||FRA||4||10||3||7||15||24||-26||4||2||7||10||112||86|
|7||MANTIS Panagiotis||KAGIALIS Pavlos||GRE||3||8||16||4||3||8||15||16||-24||15||4||116||92|
|8||SNOW HANSEN Paul||SAUNDERS Jason||NZL||1||9||16||3||7||13||10||11||16||-18||14||118||100|
|9||BARREIROS Onan||SARMIENTO Aaron||ESP||5||26||5||8||8||19||-28||6||9||4||12||130||102|
|10||ROGERS Nick||GRUBE Chris||GBR||14||5||4||2||19||4||3||15||18||-20||18||122||102|
It was a battle of three of the best and a race between three good friends in the women’s RS:X Medal Race with Israel’s Lee Korzits taking gold over Poland’s Zofia Noceti-Klepacka and Marina Alabau from Spain.
“These girls are my team. We all won, all three of us,” the Israeli said.
With Noceti-Klepacka taking silver and Alabau the bronze, the three women hugged and drank champagne together when they got to shore, but it was a different story during the race.
“When I go onto the water I am like a warrior, even to my friends,” Korzits said. “On the beach we are like best friends but in the water we are competing.”
The race, with light winds and seaweed, tested the strength and balance of all competitors with the sailors having to pump furiously to get to the windward mark.
While Maayan Davidovich (ISR) charged ahead on the easier downward leg to finish first in the race, it wasn’t enough to secure her a place in the top three.
Britain’s Bryony Shaw finished seventh.
Top 10 results
Women’s Match Racing
A lazy Fremantle Doctor again hampered Women’s Match Racing, delaying the start by three hours.
Flight 62 saw some exciting racing in the inter-Australian match between Nicky Souter and Olivia Price. A number of lead changes and some very close sailing had many fans in the grandstand, including Nicky Souter’s family, on the edge of their seats. But it was Olivia Price’s AUS-2 team who managed to edge over the line first.
There was close racing all day as the round robin repechage stage continued, and with only four points between the top and bottom teams, there was plenty of opportunity for sailors to advance through to the quarterfinals.
At the end of Sunday’s racing, Price (AUS-2) was leading with 7 wins and 2 losses, followed by Macgregor (GBR) on 6 wins and 1 loss, and Kjellberg (SWE-1) on 6 wins and 3 losses.
Racing begins on Monday 12 December at 1000 local time, with the last three repechage flights left over from Sunday, followed by the three remaining flights of the Gold seeding.
First of the next crop of Olympic classes to get out on the water today were the Stars where after day one Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson lead in the overall standings with Germany’s Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen in second, Ireland’s Peter O’Leary and David Burrows third after two races.
Race one averaged wind speeds of 13 knots, which clearly benefitted Polish pair Matuesz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki who won by 63 seconds from the USA’s Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Faith.
Germany’s Stanjek and Kleen finished in third, one second ahead of the British Beijing Gold medallists.
Race two went to Portugal’s Afonso Domingos and Frederico Melo while O’Leary and Burrows came in a close second, just 14 seconds behind the frontrunners.
Percy and Simpson were third, with Sweden’s Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen fourth.
Race one winners Kusznierewicz and Zycki did not finish race two after they were forced to retire after a double yellow penalty flag.
|1||PERCY Iain||SIMPSON Andrew||GBR||4||3||7|
|2||STANJEK Robert||KLEEN Frithjof||GER||3||5||8|
|3||O'LEARY Peter||BURROWS David||IRL||8||2RDG||10|
|4||MENDELBLATT Mark||FATIH Brian||USA||2||9||11|
|5||BABENDERERDE Johannes||JACOBS Timo||GER||5||11||16|
|6||FLORENT Guillaume||RAMBEAU Pascal||FRA||7||10||17|
|7||CLARKE Richard||BJORN Tyler||CAN||12||6||18|
|8||ECHAVARRI Fernando||RODRIGUEZ Fernando||ESP||11||8||19|
|9||SCHEIDT Robert||PRADA Bruno||BRA||13||7||20|
|10||LOOF Fredrik||SALMINEN Max||SWE||18||4||22|
|11||DOMINGOS Afonso||MELO Frederico||POR||22||1||23|
|12||SZABO George||STRUBE Mark||USA||10||17||27|
|13||MARAZZI Flavio||de MARIA Enrico||SUI||16||13||29|
|14||NEGRI Diego||VOLTOLINI Enrico||ITA||9||21||30|
|15||MELLEBY Eivind||MORLAND PEDERSEN Petter||NOR||6||27||33|
|16||GUREYEV Vasyl||KOROTKOV Volodymyr||UKR||21||15||36|
|17||POLGAR Johannes||KOY Markus||GER||26||14RDG||40|
|18||ROHART Xavier||PONSOT Pierre Alexis||FRA||24||18||42|
|19||MERRIMAN Rick||TRINTER Phil||USA||20||22||42|
|20||KUSZNIEREWICZ Mateusz||ZYCKI Dominik||POL||1||42DNF||43|
TAG Heuer Awards
The TAG Heuer Awards for the best male and female athlete of the first week of the Worlds were awarded to Australian Men’s 470 sailor Mat Belcher, who won gold with team mate Malcolm Page, and Dutch Laser Radial gold medallist Marit Bouwmeester. The individual awards take into account sporting achievement as well as the athlete’s contribution to the promotion of sailing as an Olympic sport.
Tomorrow, Monday will see the second wave of World Championship action, with the start of racing for the 49er, Laser, RS:X men’s windsurfing and 470 women’s events.