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Ready Steady Tokyo Olympic test event in Enoshima, Japan - Day 4

by Liz Owen, World Sailing 20 Aug 2019 15:02 BST 15-22 August 2019
Katy Spychakov (ISR) - Ready Steady Tokyo day, 4 © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy / World Sailing

The pressure will be on tomorrow at Ready Steady Tokyo - Sailing, with fleet racing wrapped up in five Olympic events on Day 4.

The RS:X Men, RS:X Women, 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 fleets will all sail their Medal Race on Day 5 tomorrow, with all gold medals still yet to be decided.

For many nations and athletes, the test event has wider implications for Tokyo 2020 qualification.

One such example is Katy Spychakov (ISR) in the RS:X Women's fleet.

She currently sits second overall, seven points behind leader Yunxiu Lu (CHN) and three ahead of Rio 2016 champion Charline Picon (FRA).

With an abundance of Israeli talent in this class, it will be a tough task for her to confirm her spot at the Games, but she can take a big step forward with a top-three finish tomorrow.

"For us, there are four important competitions - the Europeans in Palma earlier this year, this event, then the two upcoming Worlds in Garda and New Zealand," Spychakov explained.

"Here, it's only me who can get some points, but only if I get a medal.

"I had a good day today and the conditions were nice; we had a nice sea breeze picking up during the day and some nice planing in the downwinds. It was fun!

"I'm really happy with the way I'm sailing and I think it's a pretty good sign for next year - I would like to be here.

"It's tight between the top three, but I will do my best tomorrow."

Lu and Spychakov took a win each today, as did Emma Wilson (GBR), who sits 11 points behind Picon in fourth.

Both Skiff Medal Races look to be interesting affairs for different reasons.

In the 49er fleet, Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL) have sailed consistently all week, so much so that they are able to discard their only finish outside the top 10 from 12 races.

Claiming their third race win of the week today puts them 13 points ahead of nearest challengers, Lukasz Przybytek & Pawel Kolodzinski (POL).

Przybytek & Kolodzinski are then eight points ahead of Dylan Fletcher-Scott & Stuart Bithell (GBR) who, after a tricky start to the week, have powered back into the top three, winning the final fleet race.

The Poles are satisfied with how they have performed this week and, with nothing yet decided, will relish tomorrow's showdown.

"Last year during the Europeans we were consistent but the Medal Race was difficult - this year we have been consistent and will fight until the end for a medal," said Kolodzinski.

"Today we had shifty, gusty winds and it wasn't easy to find good waves to the top mark," said Przybytek.

"We will try to make a very good race tomorrow so we'll see what happens."

On the qualification process for Poland in the 49er, Kolodzinski added: "We need to qualify our country during the Worlds in Auckland in December, and at each Worlds and Europeans we collect points. Then the Polish Federation will make a decision in June."

Mathieu Frei & Noe Delpech (FRA) collected the other race win.

And there will be a tasty battle in the 49erFX fleet, with seven points separating first and third going into the Medal Race.

Charlotte Dobson & Saskia Tidey (GBR) have maintained their lead throughout but they are only a single point ahead of nearest challengers Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze (BRA).

A solid week for Alexandra Maloney & Molly Meech (NZL) puts them six points behind the Brazilians, with a three-point gap between them and fourth-placed Helene Nass & Marie Ronningen (NOR).

No one in the top seven won a race today - Annemiek Bekkering & Annette Duetz (NED) got two bullets, with Albane Dubois & Lili Sebesi (FRA) claiming the other victory.

We'll see another close Medal Race unfold in the Nacra 17 fleet, with just 10 points separating first and fifth and all able to claim gold.

Ruggero Tita & Caterina Banti (ITA) have led all week long, but they take a slender two-point advantage into tomorrow's showdown.

John Gimson & Anna Burney (GBR) leapfrog Santiago Lange & Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) into second, courtesy of a race win, but the Rio 2016 gold medallists are only five points behind them.

Vying for a podium spot are Jason Waterhouse & Lisa Darmanin (AUS), two points behind in fourth, and the other British team of Ben Saxon & Nikki Boniface (GBR), just a point adrift of the Aussies after winning the final race.

Taking the day's other race win were Quentin Delapierre & Manon Audinet (FRA), which helped them confirm 10th place and qualify for the Medal Race.

And in the RS:X Men's fleet, Mengfan Gao (CHN) has a 16-point lead over Thomas Goyard (FRA), helped by his third win of the week today, with Tom Squires (GBR) just three points behind the Frenchman.

Though Gao looks likely to wrap up gold tomorrow, there will be a fierce fight for a podium spot elsewhere as Mattia Camboni (ITA) sits level on points with Squires and the two Poles, Piotr Myszaka and Pawel Tarnowski, are one and six points behind the Italian respectively.

Angel Granada (ESP) and Piotr Myszka (POL) bagged the other two wins.

Elsewhere, fleet racing continues in the 470 Men and Women, Laser, Laser Radial and Finn classes tomorrow.

Zsombor Berecz (HUN) has a 16-point advantage over Giles Scott (GBR) in the Finns, with Nicholas Heiner (NED) in third, still ahead of Andy Maloney (NZL).

Mat Belcher & Will Ryan (AUS) stay in front in the 470 Men, with Anton Dahlberg & Fredrik Bergström (SWE) switching places with Jordi Xammar & Nicolas Rodriguez (ESP) in the top three.

In the 470 Women, leaders Ai Kondo Yoshida & Miho Yoshioka (JPN) dropped to third overall after receiving a disqualification in the final race of the day.

Camille Lecointre & Aloise Retornaz (FRA) now top the fleet, ahead of Hannah Mills & Eilidh McIntyre (GBR).

Jesper Stalheim (SWE) keeps his lead in the Laser fleet, with Matt Wearn (AUS) and Sam Meech (NZL) following.

And in the Laser Radial fleet, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) retakes second place, behind Emma Plasschaert (BEL) but in front of Maria Erdi (HUN).

The first Medal Race to take place is the 49erFX at 13:30 local time tomorrow.

Both the 49er and RS:X Women will follow at 14:30, with the RS:X Men and Nacra 17 fleets kicking off at 15:30.

Fleet racing for the other five events starts at around 12:00.

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