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01 Apr 2016

Teams from the Ukraine and Israel will be on their way to the Rio 2016 Olympics after seizing the last two continental qualification places on offer to one European nation in each of the 470 Men and 470 Women events.

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2016 Trofeo Princesa Sofia

It was Last Chance Friday at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR. The Olympic classes regatta on the Bay of Palma offered the final opportunity for European nations to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Regatta in August and today's last Finals races saw some dreams of Rio glory kept alive, whilst others were washed away in the heavy spring rainfall and unsettling winds.

It is hard to consider that the tension, emotions, tears and traumas of today will be in any way topped in Saturday's medal races. In the Men's 470 Class Mat Belcher and Will Ryan sat out the last race today. Because they could.

The last spot for a European nation in the Men's 470 Class had to be decided on countback. On the final reach of the last race the young Italian pair Matteo Capurro and Matteo Puppo had done enough to wrest the national qualification place from the Ukranians Boris Shvets and Pavlo Matsuyev who had started the day with a three points lead over the Italians.

Both finished locked on 126 points apiece, in 14th and 15th respectively  but the Ukranians finished the regatta with their best score being a second place which outpointed the Italians' sixth. The still Ukranians had to wait to find out if a possible protest against them arising from the first race of the day would go to the room, but it didn't.

"The guys are very happy. It has been a long and very stressful day for them but we are all happy. They have had this dream for a long time and it is still alive. Our country has a good history in the 470." said their coach Volodymyr Kyselov.

The young Italians took some time to come back to the beach but were far from despondent.

"To finish even on points is hard. Until the last reach we could qualify the nation but it is hard to take right now. The regatta was good and we sailed well. We are still young, just 22 and so we look forwards." said the Italian crew Puppo.

Israel qualified in the Women's 470 Class thanks to the ninth of Gil Cohen and Nina Amir who also confirm their own selection. It will be Cohen's second Olympics after 2012:

"I have learned so much from the last time. We just needed to do what we knew we could do today and it would be OK." said Cohen. 

Her young crew Amir was fighting back tears on the beach, "This has been my dream to get to the Olympics and I will be going. It is unbelievable."

The top 10 Medal Race will take place on Saturday 2 April and you can follow the action at www.trofeoprincesasofia.org

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