A high calibre cast of 2.4 Norlin OD sailors will be in attendance at the 2016 Para World Sailing Championships from 24 May to 28 May with Medemblik, the Netherlands set to host a great advertisement for the upcoming Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
Paralympic medallists, 2.4mR world champions, Sailing World Cup winners and Para World Sailing champions will line up against each other bidding to be crowned 2016 world champion heading in to the summer Games.
Germany’s Heiko Kroeger is 2014 world champion in the class and also has a London 2012 Paralympic silver medal as part of his trophy cabinet. The German is a regular on the podium and took home a silver in the 2015 Para Worlds, but he faces a tall order to continue to grow his medal collection on the waters of Medemblik.
Damien Seguin (FRA) was a step above Kroeger at the 2015 Para Worlds in Melbourne, Australia taking the win and like his counterpart boasts a plethora of titles. Current champion Seguin also has an Athens 2004 Paralympic gold medal to his credit and has aspirations of being the first disabled sailor to complete the famous Vendee Globe as skipper.
Before Seguin can think about the Vendee Globe he still has Medemblik and a stellar cast of 2.4 sailors to contend with. One of those contenders is another Paralympic gold medallist, Great Britain’s Helena Lucas. Despite being current Paralympic champion, winning gold in Weymouth and Portland at her home Games in London 2012, Lucas has yet to add a world championship title to that honour finishing in bronze on three occasions and in silver on two. Maybe the Delta Lloyd waters can change her fortunes.
There is also another Briton throwing her hat in the ring alongside Lucas for gold in Medemblik, Megan Pascoe. As the sole participant from Great Britain in the 2016 2.4mR World Championships in Tasmania, Australia, Pascoe made the long trip home with a gold medal around her neck.
The challengers just keep on coming, and come in the form of Australia’s Matt Bugg who finally got the monkey of his back at the Sailing World Cup Hyères by winning his first ever international event. Confidence is high for the Aussie sailor and after his maiden win in France admitted he was heading to Medemblik to win, a solid statement of intent considering his opposition.
The who’s who of 2.4 Norlin OD sailors also lists Norway’s Bjornar Erikstad who is always in and around medal contention territory. Erikstad has multiple Sailing World Cup medals and a silver in the 2.4mR World Championship Open division.
Other sailors of note are Finland’s Niko Salomaa, USA’s Dee Smith and Italy’s Antonio Squizzato, to name but a few such is the depth of competition on the start line.
One thing is for sure, the competition is fierce and the hunt for medals will be an intriguing one in this World Championships. A medal here could be a significant marker down to a rival ahead of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition. Momentum, medals and bragging rights all up for grabs.
The 2.4 Norlin OD racing commences on 11.00 local time on Tuesday 24 May in Medemblik.