More than 240 sailors from 37 nations will be in Qingdao, China from 14 – 20 September 2015 for the next ISAF Sailing World Cup installment.
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 $150,000 USD 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. Alongside this, 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 the Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2015, the Olympic test event. Under the leadership of Beijing 2008 gold medallist Tom Ashley (NZL), Wang led from start to finish and looked untouchable.
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.
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. As well as aiming to qualify for the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final, Sanz is using Qingdao as preparation for the RS:X Worlds, an Olympic qualifier, “I’m looking forward to the event because it’s going to be my last regatta before the Worlds in Oman, but not as a peak event.
“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.
“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.
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 whilst 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds gold medallist Yunxiu Lu (CHN) will be searching for her first major senior title.
Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) will be aiming to make it three victories from three at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao having controlled the 2013 and 2014 editions. Stipanovic mastered Qingdao’s strong current and light breeze at the previous editions and with a wealth of knowledge; it will be hard for the chasing pack of 39 to catch him.
One man with a strong chance of overthrowing Stipanovic is Cyprus’ Pavlos Kontides. The Cypriot, who won his country’s first Olympic medal ever at London 2012, has finished second to Stipanovic on both occasions in Qingdao. Kontides has come close but the Croatian has always managed to find a way to win. Will 2015 see a different result? Only time will tell.
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.
Like Stipanovic, 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, whilst in 2014 she came out on top in a four way shoot out for gold between Tina Mihelic (CRO), Sara Winther (NZL) and Drozdovskaya.
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 16 September with Medal Races bringing the regatta to a close on 20 September.
more info ………… sailing.org
ISAF Sailing World Cup
The ISAF Sailing World Cup is a world-class annual series for Olympic sailing. It is open to the sailing events chosen for the 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition. Its centre piece is the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup will consist of five regattas for all ten Olympic events and where possible, Formula Kite Racing. Qualification places for the ISAF Sailing World Cup final are up for grabs at each event. The final will bring together the top 20 boats in each Olympic event and an Open Kiteboarding event where the World Cup Champions will be crowned
2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup
Melbourne – 7-14 December 2014
Miami – 25-31 January 2015
Hyères – 20-26 April 2015
Weymouth and Portland – 8-14 June 2015
Qingdao – 14-20 September 2015
2015 Final Abu Dhabi – 27 October to 1 November 2015
– See more at: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2015/09/09/isaf-sailing-world-cup-qingdao-preview/?#sthash.XTY31ipd.dpuf
Report by ISAF