Australia top nation
The Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships concluded today in perfect conditions, with the medal races and the final four world titles decided in the Women’s 470, 49er, RS:X Men and Laser classes.
A large crowd gathered in the Worlds Village to watch the final medal presentations and closing ceremony ahead of fireworks and a farewell party for athletes, officials and volunteers on the shore at Bathers Bay.
Spain’s Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos were rewarded for a consistent week of sailing to be crowned Women’s 470 World Champions.
Skandia Team GBR’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark led from start to finish in the Medal Race to take the silver medal.
With an 11-point lead going into the final, Pacheco and Betanzos’ seventh place in the Medal Race was enough to secure overall victory. Despite the buffer, the Spanish pair was far from confident they had the world title wrapped up.
“The others are really good and you have to do a hard job,” Betanzos said. “Finally we did it and we could get it - that is not easy.”
Mills and Clark, who earned selection for the 2012 Games after a whirlwind seven-month campaign together, had a self-confessed “average” but steady opening series, managing to avoid any punishing scores before pulling through into the podium spots just in time for the final 10-boat race today.
In bronze medal position going into the day, but with several crews tight on points behind them, the British duo pulled off a great start – something they admit to having struggled with during the week – and led all the way around the racecourse.
It wasn’t enough to wrest gold from the hands of the Spanish leaders, Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos, but the British pairing were delighted with their silver.
“We came here not expecting to do this well really at all,” said Mills. “We were a bit nervous coming into the event with a bit of a lack of preparation and we’ve dug pretty deep this week to pull back from some pretty deep windward mark roundings, and to keep ourselves in there fighting for the medals, so we’re so happy!”
Of their medal race performance, Clark said: “We made a call on our start plan and just really tried to execute it well and that came off, thank God! We had a little bit of a wobble up the second beat, the pins were down for a building breeze and then we got a bit of weed, so the Kiwis got a bit too close, but then we got around the windward mark and we pulled away downwind again.”
New Zealand duo Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie exceeded their expectations for the event, finishing third in the Medal Race to clinch the Bronze medal after starting the day in fourth position overall.
“We came here just to qualify the country basically, so to come away with a medal is a real bonus,” Powrie said.
Aleh and Powrie’s bronze came at the expense of Israel’s Gil Cohen and Vered Buskila, who came home eighth in the Medal Race.
Top 10 results
|1||PACHECO Tara||BETANZOS Berta||ESP||8||7||1||1||3||4||-27||7||2||16||14||90||63|
|2||MILLS Hannah||CLARK Saskia||GBR||10||6||9||6||-13||3||12||8||11||1||2||81||68|
|3||ALEH Jo||POWRIE Olivia||NZL||7||4||14||-25||7||1||3||17||1||13||6||98||73|
|4||COHEN Gil||BUSKILA Vered||ISR||-24||5||17||2||1||8||10||4||9||4||16||100||76|
|5||CONTI Giulia||MICOL Giovanna||ITA||11||8||2||7||23||-35||6||1||4||8||18||123||88|
|6||KONDO Ai||TABATA Wakako||JPN||3||1||13||4||2||-28||5||16||15||10||20||117||89|
|7||CLARK Penny||HUGHES Katrina||GBR||1||10||3||9||25||10||7||-30||17||2||10||124||94|
|8||SOFFIATTI GRAEL Martine||MARQUES SWAN Isabel||BRA||5||11||16||-20||16||20||1||2||12||3||12||118||98|
|9||RECHICHI Elise||STOWELL Belinda||AUS||23||-38||12||14||8||9||15||10||3||5||4||141||103|
|10||WESTERHOF Lisa||BERKHOUT Lobke||NED||4||2||11||3||9||31||28||(49)DSQ||6||6||8||157||108|
Australia’s Tom Slingsby cruised home comfortably on the final day of racing, winning today’s medal race to secure a 19-point victory overall and his fourth Laser World Championship crown.
On finishing Slingsby somersaulted from his boat into the water in front of cheering fans, lifting the host nation to a table-topping three world titles and leaving a handful of other sailors to battle it out for the other two podium spots.
On his fourth world title, Slingsby said: “This is definitely one of the best. Sailing, you’re often off in the ocean and no one can see but to have it here and a grandstand all cheering your name chanting ‘Tom’, I haven’t had that happen before so it’s a pretty amazing feeling. You feel like a real sports star.
“I’m really happy with the way I’m going. To me, I feel like I’m improving all the time. I’m a lot better sailor than I was four years ago and I think it’s going to show this time around.”
Skandia Team GBR’s Nick Thompson collected the Silver medal with a second place finish in the Medal Race and 56 points overall.
Thompson went into the final race in the bronze medal position, but with six boats capable of winning the two remaining medals, a close battle ensued.
Thompson got a good start and opted for the right hand side of the course on the first windward leg, in contrast to the rest of the fleet, but it paid off with him rounding the mark second behind Slingsby. New Zealander Andrew Murdoch was chasing hard, overtaking Thompson at one stage to relegate the British sailor to bronze, but Thompson pulled through on the final upwind leg.
“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said Thompson. “I couldn’t really have asked much more apart from gold and to be fair Tom sailed a fantastic event and deserved to win it. I’m absolutely ecstatic.
“It was a really good race. The goal for me was to get some space after the start and that’s why I split out from the start. With the waves we had today we got almost get surfing upwind it was a case of just trying to get some space, get the boat moving and go from there. Rounding the mark with [Andrew] right on my heels, or actually just ahead of me it was pretty nail-biting as he’s one of the people who were pretty much level on points with me. We had a good battle all the way round and I just managed to get ahead of him on the last beat and pulled away on the run.”
Thompson adds this silver to his silver from last year’s World Championships and his bronze from 2009. He admits that a his podium finish in Perth has helped ease the pain of missing out on London 2012 selection to Paul Goodison, who finished this World Championship in fifth.
“When I lost those selection trials to Paul – and deservedly so seeing as he sailed such a strong selection trials – it was very disheartening for me and it was almost a case of ‘what now?’ Shall I take a break from sailing, shall I do something else?
“But Paul asked me to be his training partner and it’s something I do enjoy doing so it was a case of just using this event as a peak and just trying to come away with a medal so to be able to do that was fantastic.”
New Zealander Andrew Murdoch was elated with the bronze medal, his third world Laser bronze to go with a silver from 2007, saying he would now celebrate by starting his summer holidays.
“It was so close, it was like starting all over again,” he said. “I just had to keep a boat between me and the German (Simon Groteluschen),” he said.
Groteluschen was unhappy not taking home an expected medal after starting the day second on overall points. “I was very disappointed because I had a big crash with the Austrian guy [Andreas Geritzer], and then I fell back and it was hard to come back.”
Top 10 results:
Australian favourites Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen confirmed their world number one status in the 49er skiff fleet with a world championship winning performance in the Medal Race on Sunday.
Finishing the regatta with 91 points overall, the Australian pair secured gold ahead of New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Tuke Blair on 112 with Denmark’s Emil Toft Nielsen and Simon Toft Nielsen claiming the bronze.
“It’s amazing,” said Jensen. “They haven’t had a world title for a couple of years now and in the last one we were second, so it’s good to not be the bridesmaids anymore I guess.”
Outteridge and Jensen turned in a steady performance to finish fourth in the Medal Race, in the process qualifying Australia for the London 2012 Olympics in the 49ers event.
Simon Toft Nielsen added: “We are very excited about securing the bronze medal. It's been a long, tough week for us and pulling it off in the end feels really, really good.”
There was final day disappointment for one time series leaders John Pink and Rick Peacock, who went into the 49er medal race in bronze position and with a chance of silver. But they were left at the back of the 10-boat fleet after the first windward leg and were unable to pull through. They finished their regatta just outside of the medals in fourth with fellow Skandia Team GBR crew of Dave Evans and Ed Powys sixth.
Top 10 results:
|1||OUTTERIDGE Nathan||JENSEN Iain||AUS||10||10||1||1||1||-13||8||5||4||10||5||8||5||7||10||6||104||91|
|2||BURLING Peter||TUKE Blair||NZL||5||3||2||-16||6||6||3||12||3||16||11||5||9||15||12||4||128||112|
|3||TOFT NIELSEN Emil||TOFT NIELSEN Simon||DEN||(35)OCS||2||3||2||2||19||6||4||1||1||13||17||6||9||17||10||147||112|
|4||PINK John||PEACOCK Rick||GBR||3||1||16||4||12||4||1||6||2||4||9||15||22||6||-23||18||146||123|
|5||NOERREGAARD CHRISTENSEN Allan||LANG Peter||DEN||12||11||4||8||1||6||6||7||-24||18||1||11||18||3||21||2||153||129|
|6||EVANS David||POWYS Edward||GBR||1||7||11||9||2||8||9||1||10||-22||7||20||16||16||9||8||156||134|
|7||DELLE KARTH Nico Luca Marc||RESCH Nikolaus Leopold||AUT||8||5||8||12||10||15||12||18||12||12||-22||1||1||8||1||14||159||137|
|8||WARRER Jonas||HANSEN Soeren||DEN||1||4||5||3||8||10||13||9||5||23||24||10||(26)DSQ||4||7||12||164||138|
|9||STORCK Erik||MOORE Trevor||USA||8||6||14||1||3||3||15||-20||14||9||6||3||15||11||8||22DNF||158||138|
|10||SEATON Ryan||McGOVERN Matt||IRL||2||4||10||7||11||12||5||5||-19||8||17||12||14||10||6||16||158||139|
Dutch favourite Dorian van Rijsselberge capped off an outstanding week of sailing, holding off defending champion Poland’s Piotr Myszka to make the RS:X world title his own today.
“It means satisfaction for the last three years,” van Rijsselberge said when he returned to Bathers Bay beach from the Centre Course. “I have shown that I am on top of the game, so it’s really good for me.”
With just one point separating van Rijsselberge and the Pole going into the final day of sailing, competition on the water was fierce. But despite his best efforts, the defending world champion couldn’t keep his Dutch rival from securing the Gold, and he had to settle for Silver.
“I was waiting for some mistake, but he made none,” Myszka said. “He’s a world champion. He knows what to do and he protected himself really well. I couldn’t do anything.”
While van Rijsselberge and Myszka battled for Gold, Poland’s Przemyslaw Miarczynski and Israel’s Nimrod Mashich fought for Bronze, with the Israeli managing to push Miarczynski out of the top three.
Both sailors ended with 52 points overall, but on a count-back Mashich took the bronze.
“Miarczynski is a really experienced sailor. I don’t know how many medals this guy has won in his life so it was very hard racing him today,” Mashich said.
Mashich, the world number two, said he was “really, really happy” to be taking a medal home. “I really wanted to win but they [van Rijsselberge and Myszka] are really incredible sailors so I did the maximum I could do and that’s it.”
Disappointingly neither Nick Dempsey nor Elliot Carney made to the medal race, Dempsey, who has been selected to go to London 2012 finishing 13th with Carney 14th.
Top 10 results:
|1||van RIJSSELBERGHE Dorian||NED||1||3||-16||1||1||1||4||3||3||8||8||49||33|
|5||TOBIN Jon Paul||NZL||6||4||6||10||6||3||-24||2||7||7||10||85||61|
Australia was awarded the IOC President’s Cup for collecting the most Gold medals at Perth 2011.
Head Coach of the Australian Sailing Team, Victor Kovalenko, accepted the award telling fellow competitors “we are friends not rivals” and congratulated everyone on the success of the regatta.
USA Match Racing skipper Anna Tunnicliffe was named TAG Heuer Female Sailor of the week, Australia’s Tom Slingsby was Male Sailor of the week and Moldova’s Alex Denisuic won the Emerging Nations Programme rising star TAG Heuer award.
For Skandia Team GBR two silver medals today capped off a six medal haul at these championships. Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark and Nick Thompson, added to the gold and bronze medals won in the first week of the event in the Finn class by Giles Scott and Ed Wright, and the silvers won by the 470 men’s team of Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell and the match racing trio of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor.
RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park was positive about his team’s overall performance in the context of their 2012 preparations.
“It’s been a long and testing Championship both on and off the water for sailors, coaches and support staff alike,” Park remarked.
“While we congratulate the Australian team for winning three golds and with it the IOC President’s Cup, I’m very pleased that as a team, GBR are clearly still on track for 2012 winning 6 medals – twice as many as any other nation – despite three of our top 2008 Olympic teams being unable to complete the regatta, which I’m confident would have delivered at least one and possibly two more medals.”
Park continued: “With the aim of trying to be medal competitive in all 10 Olympic events in 2012, with every event we get closer to achieving that aim which we hope will deliver our goal of four medals next summer. We would like to have converted in the 49er where we were leading going into the penultimate day and our top windsurfers Bryony Shaw and Nick Dempsey have underperformed here.
“In summary, we’ve had some great performances here in Perth, with a timely reminder you can never get complacent.”