The Spanish team continues to dominate the Lanzarote International Regatta, with Canary Islander Tara Pacheco and Catalan Florian Trittel holding first place in Nacra 17, plus Cantabrian Diego Botín and Galician Iago López topping the 49er. Could we see the same result in Tokyo 2020?
Finland (Nacra 17), Ireland (49er) and Belgium (49er FX) are the European countries that will be competing for an Olympic pass in the Canary Islands. The Medal Race will be broadcast live simultaneously on the Olympic Channel and World Sailing media channels, in addition to the Lanzarote International Regatta.
The Canary Islands have given us a beautiful day of racing with a fairly stable wind direction, from the east with an average intensity of between 10 and 14 knots, although somewhat unstable in some areas; in short, a perfect day for "racing". On Wednesday, the 25 best boats in the men's and women's Olympic modalities (49er and 49er FX) qualified, in which the Spaniards Diego Botín and Iago López continue to dominate, innate sailors who have shown that they are capable of coming back from any position. "We had another fantastic day, we have never done so many firsts in so few days, but we still have a long way to go in the championship and the Danes are very close", says Galician Iago López. In the Cantabrian's words, "it's important to perform well in this regatta because it's probably the last one before Tokyo".
In the 49er, Ireland is the country that holds the Olympic pass with Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove in third place. Both Irish 49er teams are sailing very well and remain in contention for a place at the Olympics, but there are still many races to go and anything is possible, so there is a lot of work to do. "We'd love to compete in Tokyo, but the goal is to do well this week first," explains Matt McGovern, coach of the Irish.
In the mixed modality of Nacra 17, Tara Pacheco from Gran Canaria and Florian Trittel from Barcelona continue to stand out, maintaining their first place, even improving on yesterday's results, sailing with around 10 knots in the first and second races, positioning themselves at the starts and maintaining their speed, which has allowed them to achieve almost three first places in a row. "They have made very good decisions in general, especially in the positioning of the starts and in the first 150 metres, which has been key in this competition", explains their coach, Álvaro Del Arco.
However, the German duo of Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer are close behind. "It was difficult, especially during the first two races, but when we had a clear strategy, we got the speed we need to win races," said Kohlhoff and Stuhlemmer. In this Olympic class, Finland's Sinem Kurtbay and Janne Jarvine move up two places and, for now, qualify their country for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
The Brazilians, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, continue to dominate the women's 49er FX category, but there is still a lot at stake and anything can happen with strong southerly breeze forcast for the end of the week. The Brazilians won Olympic gold at Rio 2016, and on the Lanzarote regatta course they are proving that they will be great rivals at the Tokyo Olympics. The Danes have also proved to be up to the task, so they are "very happy with the strategy we followed today, the first and last race we finished well, but everything was quite difficult and unpredictable," said Ida M. Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard. However, it must be remembered that it is the Belgians who are playing for the Olympic place.
Which European countries are competing for a place at the Olympic Games?
Nacra 17: Finland, Croatia, Netherlands, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Russia
49er FX: Sweden, Italy, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Belgium, Russia
49er: Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, Estonia, Slovenia, Turkey, Russia