JAPAN STRIKE GOLD ON TOKYO 2020 WATERS AS WORLD CUP SERIES ENOSHIMA CONCLUDES16 Sep 2018
Japan's Keiju Okada and Jumpei Hokazono won gold in the Men's 470 as the World Cup Series Enoshima, the first major event on Tokyo 2020 Olympic waters, came to a tame finish.
The Japanese held an eight-point lead heading into the final day but, due to a light breeze, the fleet were unable to sail, with only the Laser and Laser Radial completing their Medal Races.
Racing was due to commence at 12:00 local time, but the expected sea breeze had not yet developed as cloud covered Sagami Bay. It wasn't until 15:00 that a 5-6 knot south-westerly breeze developed, allowing the Laser to hit the water. By that time, the 470 Medal Races had been cancelled, handing the Japanese men and Afrodite Kyranakou and Anneloes van Veen (NED) gold.
Across the week, Okada and Hokazono sailed with great consistency and as soon as racing was cancelled for the day, they could start their celebrations.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) took silver and Daichi Takayama and Kimihiko Imamura (JPN) completed the podium. Kazuto Doi and Naoya Kimura (JPN) finished in fourth, marking a tremendous regatta for the Japanese team.
Japanese Sailing team leader Aiko Saito said, "We have at least four in the top ten and then we have one or two more. It's our key class and I am very happy that the boys are doing well. For me, it doesn't matter who wins, just as long as we are winning."
Okada and Hokazono are originally from Japan's southern island, Kyushu, but moved up to Enoshima to target Tokyo 2020. With beaming smiles ahead of the medal ceremony, they commented, "Winning the selection for the Japanese team is very tough but we'll do the best we can. Winning here in Enoshima gives us an advantage and we are training here more than anyone else, so that's going to give us confidence for the future."
Afrodite Kyranakou and Anneloes van Veen (NED) won gold in the Women's 470 thanks to a consistent week of racing. The Dutch duo narrowly missed out on qualifying their country for Tokyo 2020 at the Hempel Sailing World Championships, but they demonstrated they can perform on Olympic waters.
From eight races sailed, the pair were in the top six in all but one, and finished three points ahead of 2018 World Champions Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN). Benedetta di Salle and Alessandra Dubbini (ITA) completed the podium.
"We were really looking forward to having a fight with the Japanese and Italian teams," said Kyranakou. "They're pretty good on those conditions so it would have been a good test.
"It's nice to know we already won but on the other hand it's very productive to sail on Olympic waters any day."
"It's a little bit weird to win and not race but it's nice," concluded van Veen.
After a packed schedule of events throughout 2018, many of the sailors will now enjoy a period of rest and recuperation before heading to Miami, Florida, USA for the second round of Sailing's World Cup Series.
How to Follow
ENTRIES / RESULTS / SCHEDULE
Click here to view the entry list in full.
Results will be available when racing starts on Tuesday 11 September: - http://sailing.org/worldcup/results/index.php
To view the full schedule click here.
Daily highlights and live streamed Medal Races on Saturday and Sunday will be available across the World Sailing Network. Click here to subscribe.
Set yourself a reminder for the Medal Races below:
Follow the event on World Sailing's social networks and get involved in the conversation using #WCSEnoshima
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/worldsailingofficial/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/worldsailingofficial/
Twitter - @worldsailing
All World Sailing international press releases throughout the duration of the World Cup Series Final, including the latest news and reports, are available to read here -http://www.sailing.org/worldcup/news/index.php
Click here to sign up to receive all of the latest alerts and announcements.