This year’s Aquece Rio International Regatta will be bigger than first and feature about 30 Olympic medallists
Rio de Janeiro is now in full-on test event mode for next year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games and this weekend organisers will return to the scene of the first one: Marina da Glória. The Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta 2015 follows on from the successful first staging of the event last year, with sailing being the only sport to have two test events.
Sailing traditionally has two test events due to the crucial role played in the sport by natural and climatic conditions. This will also allow Games organisers to monitor conditions in Guanabara Bay. “The health and well-being of the athletes are the priorities of Rio 2016,” said Tania Braga, head of sustainability at Rio 2016. “We are working hard to ensure that the water quality on the courses meets international standards and Brazilian law. We are closely following the monitoring carried out by the relevant environmental agencies and we share the results with sports federations, athletes, technical commissions and the International Olympic Committee.”
The second regatta, which begins on Saturday (15 August) and continues until the following Saturday (22 August), will surpass the first one in several ways.
There will be 345 athletes (up from 326 last year) from 52 countries (compared with 35 in 2014). The sailors will include around Olympic 30 medal-winners, including Brazil’s Robert Scheidt, the first Laser sailor to win two Olympic titles, and Australia’s Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan, who together won gold in the 470 class at the London 2012 Olympic Games, plus at last year’s Aquece Rio event.
The test event’s focus will also be broader this time. In 2014, only the competition area and its management were evaluated, but this year the results system, anti-doping testing and the work of 121 Brazilian technical officials will also be tested. There will also be a new competition course (near Pai Island off the coast of Itaipu, in Niterói), in addition to the five existing ones (Copacabana, Niterói, Naval Academy, Rio-Niterói Bridge and Sugarloaf – the latter being the main course, where medals races will be held). Check out the map of the courses below.
The inclusion of this new lane is in response to a request from the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) to make the competition more flexible and analyse alternative options before selecting the tournament’s official courses for the Olympic Games. The number of classes, however, will remain the same (10): RS:X (windsurf, men’s and women’s), Laser (one-man dinghy), Laser Radial (one-woman dinghy), Finn (heavyweight one-man dinghy), 470 (two-person dinghy, men’s and women’s), 49er (men’s skiff), 49er FX (women’s skiff) and the new Olympic class, Nacra 17 (mixed multihull).