February 01, 2016
Rio 2016 spots up for grabs at ASAF Asian Championship 2016 at Abu Dhabi
The stakes at ASAF Asian Sailing Championship 2016 at Abu Dhabi, taking place from 5-12 March 2016, will be raised with Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition places on the line. As the Asian Continental Qualification regatta For the men’s & women’s RS:X, LASER (Standard), Laser (Radial), 49er and 49erFX the competition in Abu Dhabi is set to be fierce with a depth of international sailing talent within the respective fleets. More than 100 sailors from 15 Asian nations will be gunning for a Rio 2016 final spots as well as the ASAF Asian Championship medals. Abu Dhabi Will be the final chance for Asian sailors to qualify for Rio 2016 after Olympic spots were distributed at the 2014 ISAF Worlds and the 2015 World Championships of these classes.
A large number of sailors from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Thailand have already qualified for Rio 2016 in the ten Olympic sailing events.
Japan’s Yukio Makino & Kenji Takahashi arguably come into the regatta as the pair to beat in the 49er. Yukio has represented Japan at the 2008 Qingdao and 2012 London and has hopes of qualifying for Rio but his intention and drive is to inspire the youth of the country to sail the skiffs ahead of Tokyo 2020, the home of Olympic Games.
Yukio Makino’s Hopes Could Turn into reality in Abu Dhabi but the Indian and Thailand teams will provide a real challenge whilst the Oman team will benefit from knowing these waters.
India’s Varsha Gautham, who will be sailing with Aishwarya in the 49erFX, is aiming for the real deal after having won a Bronze at the 2014 Asian Games in the 29er. "Indian Women have never qualified for the Olympic Games and to qualify and represent India at Rio 2016 would be an honour," said Aishwarya.
She 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, Varsha and Aishwarya are two of the youngest sailors in the 49erFX fleet and miss out on some big time experience that their rivals hold and Varsha was quick to identify her main rivals for Abu Dhabi when asked,Its would definted "It would definitely have to be the top Japanese teams as they have been on the Olympic circuit for many years, thus have a lot of experience.