17 October 2014 – Issued on behalf of ISAF – The penultimate day of ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao saw Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) seal an early gold in the Men’s RS:X whilst the remaining fleets teed themselves up for an exciting finale.
Kokkalanis has an unassailable 22 point lead after notching up three straight wins and goes into the final day with the pressure off. In the remaining five fleets the podium places are all to be decided with plenty of equations possible.
It was a day of big wind and waves in Qingdao as 15-18 knots of south westerly with gusts up to 22 knots made for enjoyable sailing for the 171 sailors from 21 nations.
Laser and Laser Radial
Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) advanced into pole position in the Laser Radial after an exceptional day on the water.
Having lost out on gold at the 2013 edition of ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao the Belorussian was determined on the penultimate day to give her an advantage going into the Medal Race. With two bullets and a second she did exactly that to sit on 17 points, three clear of overnight leader Dongshuang Zhang (CHN).
After racing Drozdovskaya was beaming, having enjoyed the day on the water as she explained, “Today was very good sailing conditions. The wind was very good and the waves were great. Today we had three races; I had a one, one and second. It’s all very good. Tomorrow there will be wind, there will be racing so we will see what happens. All of the girls are very good.”
Sara Winther (NZL) took the final race victory of the day and advanced up to third overall on 22 points, two behind Zhang. Croatia’s Tina Mihelic dropped out of the podium spots but is only a single point behind Winther heading into the Medal Race.
As of 18:15 local time there were several protests open so results are liable for change.
It will be a two horse race for gold in the Laser on the final day. Just four points separates training partners and good friends Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) and Pavlos Kontides (CYP) who hold unassailable leads over the chasing pack.
The pair took gold and silver at the 2013 edition with the Croatian coming out on top so Kontides will be aiming to overthrow him on the final day. Kontides explained the scenario, “In tomorrow’s Medal Race I need to put a boat in between me and Tonci in order to pass him otherwise he’s getting gold. I have to make sure I get a boat in between.
“It’s exciting. It’s the first time the two of us get to battle together. Whoever’s better tomorrow will win. It will be really fascinating. We are really good friends off the water and we know that everybody will give their best tomorrow to get the gold. We know that after racing we will be friends again, that’s what the sport is all about.”
As training partners, Stipanovic and Kontides know the ins and outs of each others games and have locked horns in training before as the Croatian explained, “It will be between us and I am very happy to sail against him tomorrow. We are training together and sometimes in training if someone is in a bad mood we sail on each other. We have a few training sessions in these situations so it will be fun tomorrow.”
By Tom Burton’s own high standards his opening day performance was well below par but the World #1 knows how to fight back and has clawed his way up to third overall. Consistency was king for Burton on the penultimate day and he worked his way up with a 4-5-2 scoreline to sit on 40 points.
However, Burton has company in the form of Wannes Van Laer (BEL) who is on 41 points and Mike Bullot (NZL) on 42 points and Karl-Martin Rammo (EST) on 49 points.
Men’s and Women’s RS:X
Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) sealed an early gold in the Men’s RS:X with an emphatic performance penultimate day performance.
In his favoured conditions Kokkalanis was rampant, showing the fleet what he is all about in the breeze and across three races he won them all. He took the first bullet by 26 seconds over Max Oberemko (RUS), and the second by 23 seconds over Dmitri Polichtchouk (RUS).
He had to work a bit harder in the final race of the day rounding the first mark down in ninth, nearly a minute off early leader Oberemko. Working his way through the pack he reduced the gap in the minutes and sealed victory by five seconds over Oberemko.
It’ll be a shootout for silver and bronze between Aichen Wang (CHN) and Oberemko in the Medal Race. Five points separate the leaders. Wang has sealed a medal and mathematically Oberemko can be overthrown but with his experience it will be highly unlikely.
Jiali Sun (CHN) overtook Olga Maslivets (RUS) in the Women’s RS:X after she had an exceptional day compared to the Russians. Maslivets was disqualified in Race 10 following a collision and dropped down a spot.
Sun picked up two bullets and a fourth to pull ahead whilst Maslivets sandwiched her disqualification between a third and a ninth. Sun now sits on 43 points with Maslivets on 47.4 points. It’ll be a fight between the top two on the final day.
Whilst Maslivets and Sun will fight for the gold and silver there will be three racers in with a realistic shout on bronze in the Medal Race. Yunxiu Lu (CHN) occupies the final podium spot on 66 points but is closely followed by Mei Hao (CHN) on 67 and Jiahui Wu (CHN) on 73.
Men’s and Women’s 470
Jordi Xammar and Joan Herp (ESP) will take a nine point lead into the Men’s 470 Medal Race after they excelled on the race track. The pair took the lead the day prior and extended on the penultimate day to give them a small cushion heading into the final day.
From three races the young Spaniards picked up a pair of victories and a fifth to all but guarantee a podium finish. Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) stay in second, sitting eight points ahead of Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP) who move up to third overall. Nine points splits third to seventh so it’ll all boil down to the Medal Race.
In the Women’s 470, Mengxi Wei and Yani Xu (CHN) will take a nine point lead into the Medal Race. The Chinese team have been head and shoulders above the chasing pack but with only 10 boats in the fleet they have only managed to edge ahead slowly.
Xiaomei Xu and Ping Zhang (CHN) sit in second on 20 points. Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) flourished in Qingdao’s breeze taking a pair of bullets and a fourth to move back into third position overall. They are just a point behind Xu and Zhang heading into the Medal Race.
Medal racing is scheduled to commence at 11:00 local time on Saturday 18 October. The schedule is as follows:
11:00 RSX M
11:35 RSX W
13:45 470 Men
14:30 470 Women