Dorian Van Rijsselberge wins gold with two races to spare
While the furore of the Finn and Star medal races was going on, racing was still taking place across some of the other classes, albeit not for the 470 Men, Lasers and Laser Radials, which were on their laydays, the latter two standing down prior to Monday’s medal races.
The most stand-out performance across the sailing events has been in the RS:X Men where the Netherland’s Dorian Van Rijsselberge won gold today with not one, but two races to spare.
After nine races, the Dutch sailboarder had a 3rd as his discard and on 10 points was 23 ahead of Britain’s Nick Dempsey and Germany’s Toni Wilhelm in second and third. Van Rijsselberge peeled off from today’s final race, which is now his discard. He is now assured of the gold leaving those behind to fight for the final two medals of the podium.
“It is not quite official,” confirmed Van Rijsselberge’s coach Aaron McIntosh. “We have to go through the final process which is to compete in the medal race. Mathematically on paper no one can beat Dorian, but first we must race and finish off in style.
“It is a very special time and a very special project,” the Kiwi coach continues. “I am quietly satisfied. I always believed in what Dorian could do and how he could do it and about a month out from this Olympic Games I said ‘if you sail to the best of your ability you’ll smash it. If you have an average regatta you’ll be fighting with the other guys for the medals’. The way the package came together and the final details of the training, I could see that Dorian was finally coming into his own and feeling comfortable with what was happening and where we were at.
“The equipment that was delivered to us, we still had to analyse that and go through the puzzle there, making sure we were happy. Then it as a case of just trying to finalise details. We had a nice light wind session towards the end of last week, to put on the finishing touches to the package and then made sure we had enough rest and stayed sharp. Then Dorian poured it on last week and the guys didn’t have an answer to him.
“The moments of brilliance you have seen with Dorian over the last few years – nine races of brilliance - no mistakes, he couldn’t put a foot wrong. It was his week to lose if it didn’t go well but he sailed out of his skin. If you look at him, he is relaxed, he is cool. He kept the focus and never dropped the ball. And he always sailed back from a decision that wasn’t quite correct. This week was his day.”
Fortunately among those chasing, Britain’s Nick Dempsey today posted a 9-2 firming up his second place as he moved 11 points ahead of German Toni Wilhem in third. Technically both Wilhelm and Pole Przemyslaw Miarczynski can beat Dempsey on points, but it is a useful margin to have going into Tuesday’s grand finale.
“The weather was as we expected – pretty funky - and a few people did come unstuck and I thought they would,” said Dempsey of today’s racing. “It was slightly disappointing to lose the five places on that third lap in the first race, because I sailed really well. The wind shifted – so that was a bit annoying and I went from fourth to ninth. You finish that race and the German and Pole are right down the pan, but then you are still level on points with the German because of the discard.
“In the second race the wind started to die a little bit and I was pretty up for that, because I know I am quick in the light winds, quicker than those guys, so I sailed one of my best races ever. I had a reasonable start, I had the German and the Pole next to me and then just kind of picked one of them – the better one and just covered him and sent him the wrong way and then just controlled the race, so it was really, really good.”
Of the Dutchman’s blinder, Dempsey was complimentary. “Amazing. He has always has the potential to do it, but he rarely pulls it off. He normally makes a couple of mistakes. If we had more light wind racing it might have been different but he sailed better than I did this week and he 100% deserves to win.”
Looking forward to the medal race Dempsey says: “It will be a similar strategy today: keep a close cover on them and try and control what they do around the race course. But on the Nothe it is very difficult to do that. I haven’t looked at the forecast, but we will see what the direction is, see what the wind strength is and if it is possible take them down and then I’ll take them down.
“I am happy and content. I just want to win a silver medal. It MUST be silver.”
|1||NED||Dorian Van Rijsselberge||1||1||1||3||1||2||1||2||1||-39||52||13|
|13||HKG||Ho Tsun Leung||11||18||-28||12||15||10||13||9||16||21||153||125|
|15||KOR||Tae Hoon Lee||8||6||21||17||25||9||21||13||-31||19||170||139|
|16||ESP||Ivan Pastor Lafuente||22||24||20||-39||19||25||8||25||2||5||189||150|
|32||MEX||David Mier y Teran||32||27||30||-35||28||27||28||32||30||20||289||254|