OLYMPIC SPOTS ON OFFER AT ISAF SAILING WORLD CUP QINGDAO07 Sep 2015
The stakes at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao, taking place from 14-20 September 2015, will be raised with Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition places on the line.
As the Asian continental qualification regatta for the Men's and Women's 470, Finn and Nacra 17 the competition in Qingdao is set to be fierce with a depth of international sailing talent within the respective fleets. Alongside Olympic qualification, more than 240 sailors from 37 nations will be gunning for a share of the $150,000 USD prize fund, ISAF Sailing World Cup Final spots as well as a World Cup medal.
The Men's 470 will be one of the most hotly contested battles with eight nations, China, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand all battling for one Olympic spot.
Singapore's Darren Choy, who will be sailing with Jeremiah Yeo, has had a feel of what the Olympics is like after competing at the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games and is aiming for the real deal. "The Youth Olympic Games made me want to experience the Olympic Games and feel the true spirit in the games because it is the highest prestige in the sport and to compete for Singapore would be an honour,” said Choy.
He continued, "The event is a really important one for us. It is our only ticket now to the 2016 Rio Olympics, as well as the opportunity to show that we are worth sponsoring and funding. I would love to qualify as this would give me a taste on what the Games are like and to experience it would be a dream for me.”
Compared to those around them, Choy and Yeo are two of the youngest sailors in the fleet and miss out on some big time experience that their rivals hold and Choy was quick to identify his main rivals for Qingdao when asked, "It would definitely have to be the top Chinese and Korean teams as they have been on the Olympic circuit for many years, thus have a lot of experience. We've been working on some speed technique and race preparation in Singapore and I'm aiming to be the top Asian nation, and to qualify Singapore for the Rio Olympics.”
China will be represented by 13 Men's 470 teams in Qingdao and with a strong presence on the start line, could be viewed as the favourites to take the Olympic spot. However, in a fleet of 32 that also features top 470 sailors such as David Bargehr and Lukas Mahr (AUT) and Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP), anything can happen.
In the Women's 470, the Olympic qualification fight will be between Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore. The strong teams from China and Japan qualified at the Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds making it a three horse race for qualification and a claim on the one Asian qualification place.
As for the battle to Abu Dhabi, defending champions Mengxi Wei and Yani Xu (CHN) return to defend their title but will face stiff competition from Angela Pumariega and Patricia Cantero Reina (ESP) and Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN).
Find out more at www.sailing.org/worldcup