POLAND AND AUSTRALIA TAKE VICTORY AT TROFEO PRINCESA SOFIA02 Apr 2016
A thrilling final Medal Race day for the top ten 470 Men and Women at Trofeo Princesa Sofia, saw a nail biting battle for gold in the 470 Women, whilst the 470 Men's was already wrapped up by the Aussies yesterday.
In the 470 Women, Brazil's Fernanda Oilveira/Ana Barbachan were tied on 36 points apiece with Great Britain's Amy Seabright/Anna Carpenter, and 4 points behind were Poland'sAgnieszka Skrzypulec/Irmins Mrozek Gliszczynska.
A superb medal race execution from the Polish pair saw them finish the medal race in second place, bumping them up to first overall. The Brazilians finished in 7th and the British just behind in eighth, to take silver and bronze respectively.
Agnieszka Skrzypulec said, "It was close with the points, I was happy with that. We were quite constant, I think the lowest we were was eighth, then we were sixth, fifth and then we stayed at fifth for the last three days. I was quite happy that the points were so close and we were behind so that we could really put a lot of effort to win the race, and we were quite relaxed because we didn't have a lot to lose. We were in a comfortable position compared to the other boats. This is what we wanted to do, win the race, and we finished second so it was good enough."
"I tried not to watch, I tried to focus on the shifts and stay in my position. Maybe try to catch the Australians who won the race and even on the last downwind I was talking to myself, 'don’t think about the points, don’t count the boats. You have to cross the finish line and then look back'.
"This gives us a lot of self confidence. We are really happy because one month ago we had the world championships and we won the Medal race where we finished fifth, so we were thinking 'Yes! We can do that in the Medal race!', now we won the huge regatta so it gives us a lot of confidence.
" I want to say that every race is a new story, we have to fight every race, we have to fight every regatta, we can't think of Olympic medals now but the truth for us personally, its really important that we feel strong and that we feel we can fight with the best sailors."
Winning major events, indeed World titles, with a race to spare has been done before by Aussies Mat Belcher/Will Ryan, but it is no easy feat. The Belcher and Will Ryan were outstanding as they triumphed in the 470 Men's class by 28 points, winning seven of their total of 16 races. This week they have seemed unstoppable.
Second to Stu McNay/David Hughes (USA) and third to Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis (GRE).
Of the message such a dominant win delivers to the 470 fleet and the wider world Belcher less than six months before the Games observed, "This is a world class event and Will and I sailed well so it is great to come away with the win. It is a great boost for the Europeans nexy week. We are happy with how we are sailing across the conditions, we made good decisions."
"If I was another competitor going into the Games and saw a performance like this then I suppose you might think we have things to work on, but all the teams are working on different things at the moment, each event is treated differently. And so really we just only focus on ourselves. We are trying to get ourselves ready. We are focused and are working as hard has we can."
More at www.trofeoprincesasofia.org
Up next is the 2016 470 European Championships - same venue, same racing waters - with a few new faces who were missing at Trofeo Princesa joining the mix. Faces coming on scene include 2016 470 Men World Champions Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic from Croatia, 2015 470 Women World Champions and 2016 World bronze medallists Lara Vadlau//Jola Ogar (AUT), along with a whole host of next generation 470 teams who are making the step up to senior fleet racing from the Junior Championship arena.
Whilst Trofeo Princesa Sofia was the final crunch for Olympic Qualification, the 470 Europeans is the final crunch for national selection. For many teams, their performance at the 470 Europeans will decide whether they or their team mates will be on the starting line in Rio.
Follow the action at 2016europeans.470.org