Nick Dempsey - first to claim two RS:X World titles
Olympic silver medal-winning windsurfer Nick Dempsey today etched his name into the history books by becoming the first man ever to win two RS:X Windsurfing World Championship titles.
There were double celebrations for Skandia Team GBR, with Bryony Shaw also claiming silver in the women’s fleet – surprisingly, given her lengthy career, her first ever podium finish at an RS:X World Championship.
Dempsey, 32 claimed gold in emphatic style at the Brazilian venue of Buzios, going into the final medal race with a nine-point lead over London 2012 gold medallist, Dutchman Dorian Van Rijsselberge.
Light winds delayed the start today's medal races by around an hour, but they eventually got underway in 12 knot shifty and gusty conditions, with van Rijsselberge, the 2011 World Champion, quick out of the blocks. Dempsey had a slower start, but sailed a superb second upwind leg to move back through the fleet. The Dutchman went better in the light to claim the bullet in the medal race but Dempsey's second place was enough for him to secure the gold.
So Dempsey adds this 2013 title to the one he won on home waters in Weymouth in 2009. He admitted it was “pretty good” to be the first male winner of two RS:X world titles, and that the win is a great boost at the start of his Rio campaign: “After the Olympics, I didn’t know if I wanted to carry on. I didn’t know if I still had it in me. But windsurfing is what I love, I love doing it.
“This trip has been great preparation for Rio and I think it’s going to suit me there. It’s going be slightly lighter in Rio than here, but I’m one of the smaller guys in the fleet so hopefully that will work in my favour.
“I didn’t really have any idea of how I was going to perform [at the Worlds] after so long off the board after the Olympics. With just a seven-week build up you can’t really expect too much, but I have trained really hard in that time and it’s been a long time away from home.
“I’ve kept it steady this week and did everything I could, and have ended up having one of the best regattas of my life! My strengths have always been that I can perform across the range of conditions and we’ve had that this week.
“Maybe going into the event without any real expectations helped me relax a bit, but I’m always pretty relaxed I think. I don’t think you can ever expect to be at the front of the fleet all of the time.”
Greece's Byron Kokkalanis also had a good medal race. He, Brazil's Ricardo 'Bimba' Winicki and Israeli Nimrod Maschia went to the race tied on 41 points - whoever finished the race in the front would be assured of the bronze medal - and this ended up going to the Greece windsurfer's way.
“It was really hard, I had to fight with Bimba and luckily this was my turn," said Kokkalanis. "I knew he was going to fight to be third so my goal was to end in front of him. I had a lot of problems in the past year, lost the European Championship on the tiebreaker and the third place on the Worlds by one point, so today was my day."
Beijing bronze medallist Bryony Shaw added to the British Sailing Team’s medal haul in Buzios. With Israel's Lee-El Kortizs already with the title bagged yesterday, Shaw claimed silver. However it didn't come easily. Going into the final day in the bronze medal position she trailed Maayan Davidovich by three points, and she had to fight to prevent an Israeli 1-2. But a determined display finishing fourth todya to Davidovich’s ninth was enough for Shaw to overhaul her Israeli rival on the podium.
“I’m really happy to come away with silver,” Shaw enthused. “I feel I’ve been sailing really well, especially for the first two-thirds of the week. I really wanted to close the points on Lee and yesterday was the day to have done that. It was shifty and tactically hard, and she has been sailing phenomenally in all conditions, so all credit to her, she got away!
“My Games year didn’t work out as I had wanted and it was tough – physically and mentally – so the most important thing for me here is to have had that self-belief grow back inside me again that I do still have it and I can perform on the water.
Shaw concluded: “Since windsurfing had its Olympic reprieve I’ve just been super-excited to get back on the board again. This week has been really important for me confidence-wise and I’ve showed a few things this week and am developing some real super-strengths.”
The RS:X World Championship is sponsored by the city of Búzios, ProLagos, Institute Equipav, Aegea, Institute Equipav and Aegea. Is supported by Brazilian Federal Government and has the aid of: Wöllner, Rider, Hannover Wines and Bodega Ruca Malen.
1. Nick Dempsey, GBR, 30 points
2. Dorian Van Rijsselberge, NED, 37
3. Byron Kokkalanis, GRE, 49
4. Ricardo Winick, BRA, 53
5. Piotr Myszka, POL, 57
6. Nimrod Maschiah, ISR, 59
7. Shahar Zubari, ISR, 77
8. Ivan Pastor, ESP, 78
9. Pierre Le Coq, FRA, 84
10. Louis Giard, FRA, 87
1. Lee-El Korsiz, ISR, 44 points
2. Bryony Shaw, GBR, 60
3. Maayan Davidovich, ISR, 67
4. Tuuli Petaja-Siren, FIN, 71
5. Charline Picon, FRA, 77
6. Qiaoshan Weng, CHN, 81
7. Blanca Manchon, ESP, 88
8. Patrícia Freitas, BRA98
9. Olha Maslivets, UKR, 100
10. Hayley Chan, HKG, 119