November 02, 2015
Australian duo reign supreme
ABU DHABI — Australia’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan led the gold rush as the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final concluded, adding another chapter to one of the sport’s biggest success stories.
The defending champions underlined their dominance of two-man dinghy Olympic class sailing by winning the medal race to score a comprehensive second successive men’s 470 World Cup triumph at Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club.
Belcher and Ryan got home by just a second from the young Spanish pairing of Jordi Xammar and Joan Herp to finish 11 pts ahead of Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström who were third on the last day of the regatta, sponsored by ADS Securities and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority.
The result underlines the Aussies’ position as firm favourites to strike gold at next year’s Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro and adds to Belcher’s haul of six world titles, three won in tandem with Ryan.
Americans Stuart McNay and David Hughes, 6th on the day, took the 470 bronze.
Third position in the women’s 470 medal race was enough to leave Britain’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark celebrating gold after a 6-point victory from last year’s World Cup winners in Abu Dhabi, Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar.
The Austrians were second on the day in a race won by Akiyo Yamaguchi and Eri Hatayama, although it was another Japanese combination, that of Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka, who collected bronze medals.
There was consolation for Austria in the 49er Men’s class, as Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch won the medal race following back-to-back race victories the previous day to land the gold with 6 points to spare over Stefano Cherin and Andrea Tesei.
Finishing second on the day, just ahead of the Italian silver medallists, Frenchmen Gabriel Skoczek and Yann Rocherieux won bronze.
Croatia’s Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic is the new World Cup champion in the Finn men’s class, clinching gold with a 4th place in the medal race. Turkey’s Alican Kaynar finished third to claim silver, while victory on the day saw Spain’s Pablo Guitian Sarria edge ahead of Britain’s Edward Wright to take bronze.
With an offshore breeze of 8-13 knots switching to a sea breeze later on, Australian Tom Burton was always in control in the men’s Laser class, taking third place in the medal race to comfortably secure gold ahead of Cypriot winner on the day, Pavlos Kontides.
A closing sixth place finish was enough to see another Australian, Matthew Wearn, squeeze past five-times Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt to take the bronze after the Brazilian closed with a disappointing 9th.
The battle for gold in the women’s Laser Radials was one of the most intriguing of the World Cup final, and ultimately it went to Sweden’s Josefin Olsson who had trailed Holland’s Marit Bouwmeester by a single point overnight.
The men’s windsurfing event was another which brought a last-day turnaround, with Spain’s Ivan Pastor Lafuente taking the RS:X medal race to snatch gold from Brazil’s overnight leader, Ricardo Santos, who slumped to 7th on the day for silver. Britain’s Tom Squires won the bronze medal.
Britain’s Oliver Bridge won the decisive medal race to retain his open kiteboarding title.
Spain’s Florian Trittel collected the silver medal while the bronze went to fellow-countryman Alejandro Climent Hernandez.