Rio 2016 makes a stop at Lake Garda, Trentino. From Wednesday to Sunday all the Olympic and paralympic classes will be involved in the II leg of the Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup.
The first leg took place in Palma, Majorca and now the event returns to Italy for the third consecutive year under Eurosaf and The Italian Sailing Federation.
Fifty-five nations representing five continents.
Riva del Garda, Italy – With little more than a year till the Rio Olympic Games, the international sailing circuit is starting to look very interesting. A new format for World Cups was introduced a couple of weeks ago at Hyeres (France) with exclusive access from the ISAF (International Sailing Association Federations) rankings. On Wednesday, 6th May the II leg of the Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup will get underway at Riva del Garda on Lake Garda, Trentino and will end on Sunday, 10th May.
The European Olympic Tour is played out over five stages in Spain, Italy, The Netherlands, Germany and France.
For Italy, this is the only chance to see all the Olympic and paralympic classes compete together. Only the Finn class is missing due to the European Championships running at the same time. The event is organised by Fraglia Vela Riva together with various clubs from Upper Garda including Lega Navale Italiana di Riva, Circolo Vela Arco, Circolo Surf Torbole and Fraglia Vela Malcesine and expects athletes from 55 nations including many emerging countries and many from overseas.
Participants representing all five continents have already confirmed with Australia, Argentina, Aruba, Canada, South Korea, Brazil, China, Egypt, Japan, Oman, Peru, Uruguay, Qatar, Singapore, The U.S. India, New Zealand, The Seychelles, South Africa , The Virgin Islands, El Salvador, Bahrain and Guatamala among the furthest away.
For the last few days many of the Olympic athletes have already been training on Lake Garda, Trentino which always guarantees excellent conditions for sailing as well as great opportunities for alternative training such as cycling and racing as has been shown on the web by the team from “Down Under”.
Italy will also take part and shows its best athletes during their preparation.
For the second year all three paralympic classes, Sonar, Skud and 2.4 MR will be well represented by crews who are preparing for the World IFDS (Isaf Disabled Sailing Association) Championships which will be held for the first time in Italy and has actually been awarded to Fraglia Vela Riva for 2019, thanks to the efforts of the federal council with delegate for paralympic events Rodolfo Bergamaschi and Italian athlete Massimo Dighe.
The Olympic and paralympic classes will be hosted on Upper Garda by the collaboration of clubs who truly believe in Olympic excellence and in collaborating in the organisation of large events. The Laser Standard and Radial will have Fraglia Vela Riva as their logistical base. The 470 M & F the Lega Navale Italiana of Riva, the 49er at Circolo Vela Arco, the RS:X boards at Circolo Surf Torbole and the Nacra17 together with the paralympic 2.4 mt Skud and Sonar at Fraglia Vela Malcesine.
On the last day, the Medal races for each class ( the final race will count for double points for the top ten places), will be broadcast on streaming with technical commentary by journalist Andrea Falcon and Technical Director of the Italian national team Michele Marchesini ( coach for the Spanish and Swedish crews at the Beijing and London Olympics which resulted in a gold medal victory for Loof and Saminen in the Star class).
The opening ceremony will take place immediately after the press conference which is scheduled for 5 pm on Tuesday, 5th May at Fraglia Vela Riva. The first races get under way on Wednesday at 12 noon on five regatta courses positioned on Upper Lake Garda and overseen by a staff of around 60 including buoy setters, regatta officials and an International Jury, not to mention all the volunteers, club members and supporters who have all lent a hand to organise and offer hospitality worthy of the situation.
Appearing on Lake Garda are Olympic legends as well as other notable athletes
Iker Martinez, one of the most versatile athletes, will be racing on Lake Garda. The Olympic gold and silver medallist (on the 49er at Athens and Beijing), alternates his Olympic successes by being a crew member in Round the World races (3 Volvo Ocean and a Barcelona World Race). He will be sailing in the Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup on the mixed catamaran Nacro 17 in Malcesine together with Marina Lopez.
A guaranteed presence on Lake Garda, Trentino – where he moved for his training- is multi-champion Robert Scheidt of Brazil. He is a great inspiration to many young sailors as he sails towards his sixth Olympic Games.
The Rio Games have special meaning as they are being held in his native country. Having won five Olympic medals on the Laser and Star classes ( two golds, two silvers and a bronze) and numerous World Championships, Scheidt is the Brazilian Olympian who has won more titles than any other Brazilian athlete in history. For Rio, he will return to the Laser a class in which he has won nine World Championships.
On Lake Garda, however, Scheidt will be up against some new up and coming helmsman with Olympic dreams such as Tom Burton of Australia, successor to Olympic Champion Tom Slingsby, who prior to his gold medal in London 2012, trained right here on Lake Garda, Trentino.
Also taking part among the Laser Radials is Evi Van Acker of Belgium. She was a bronze medallist at London 2012 and recently won the World Cup at Hyeres.
Gintare Volungeviclute, the wife of Robert Scheidt, returns on form after winning silver in Beijing and the 2012 World Championships as well as a silver in the World Cup at Hyeres.
Marco Predieri, President of Eurosaf, made this statement on the eve of the event: “I am very pleased that Fraglia Vela Riva and Lake Garda, Trentino are among the key players for the third year running in the Eurosaf Tour.
This is an important stage with just one year until the Olympics and it is supported by the quality and experience of the clubs of Upper Garda who organise the event together with Fraglia Vela Riva, the sailing club which was assigned the event. The presence of the paralympic crews adds value to the event and it makes me proud to have been able to bring the three classes Sonar, SKUD and 2.4mtT to Lake Garda, a task which four years ago seemed impossible”.