Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resources 2019 - Leaderboard

2019 RS:X World Championships in Torbole, Italy - Overall

by RS:X Class 29 Sep 14:50 BST
2019 RS:X World Championships in Torbole, Italy - Day 5 © Robert Hajduk / RS:X Class

The final day of the 2019 RS:X World Championships being held in Torbole, Italy, looked to be heading out with a damp fizzle, but ended with a perfect finale for the medal races as the Ora finally decided to show up just before the time limit for the day.

With a full schedule planned for the morning, the 236 competitors and the race officials and volunteers turned up at the Circolo Surf Torbole in the dawn light as has been the norm this week. However the only difference this morning was that the normal northerly breeze had disappeared - Lake Garda was breathless in both its beauty as the sun rose but also in the amount of wind.

With a fixed times for the races, the waiting game began and as the morning ticked over into the afternoon, fleets started to be cancelled. First it was the silver men and women fleets who were cancelled, causing cheers from certain countries as their qualification was confirmed with the race abandonment. Then came the gold fleets turn - again cancelled as the whispers of wind that could be seen on the horizon refused to come towards Torbole. Again cheers went up as more countries found that their ticket to Tokyo had been booked.

For the medal race contenders, their was mixed emotions amongst the ten men and ten women. Race and have a chance of getting a medal or upgrading the medal. Don't race and get to protect the medal that was already halfway around their necks. Would the wind fill in before the 1600 CET deadline?

It did. Slowly at first. But it built gradually and by 1500 CET, the women's fleet were on the medal race course ready to race in a light 8-10 knot breeze. China's Yunxiu Lu was relatively comfortable with her lead with the real battle between silver and bronze, between Lilian de Geus and Katy Spychakov. Just two points or one board separated reigning World and European champion de Geus and the relative new-comer Spychakov.

Russian Stefania Elfutina won the race and was followed by Poland's Zofia Noceti-Klepacka in second and then Spychakov in third. Down the last reach to the finish line, Spychakov could be seen looking over her shoulder, trying to figure out where de Geus was. Fourth place crossed. Fifth place crossed with Lu. And then de Geus crossed in sixth place. Spychakov had done enough to elevate herself to silver and resign de Geus to bronze. Lu had done enough to keep her first place and is the 2019 RS:X World Champion.

Spychakov on her medal race experience, "I wasn't too nervous before the race, I thought I would be more nervous but it was fun. I lost the youth world championship here in 2017 so this is a really good feeling for me. We have such a good group of three girls in Israel, we have been together since 1999 and we are such good friends and push each other all the way."

With Hong Kong, Brazil, Peru, Finland, Mexico, Hungary and Turkey already having qualified this week, it was in the silver fleet for the women that the final two spots would be allocated. Without any races, it was the United States and Thailand who were worthy recipients of the final two spots for Tokyo 2020.

For the men's medal race, the wind had increased slightly and again the battle would be to see whether reigning World champion (and double Olympic champion) could get the better of Frenchman Pierre le Coq and carry on the tradition of standing on the top two steps of the podium at major RS:X Class championships. The battle for silver and bronze was on!

With three laps in the race, van Rijsselberghe led the race off the start line and never really looked back. Van Rijsselberghe looks most comfortable at the front of the fleet and this was no exception as he incrementally extended his lead on each lap. Behind, eyes were on Pierre le Coq to see where he would round each mark. After the first lap he was in sixth place - silver was just out of his grasp but he was close and could make it up. At the end of the second lap he was just behind teammate Thomas Goyard - but when it comes to medal racing there is no such thing as "teammates" and Goyard was looking to place as high as possible himself and fought to keep le Coq behind him. At the end of the third lap, le Coq had dropped to seventh and van Rijsselberghe had done enough by winning to win the silver medal.

Badloe pretty much cruised his medal race, knowing he had a big buffer in terms of points to be able to relax and just sail fast, which he did and finished in fifth knowing he had the world title comfortably in the bag. Badloe and van Rijsselberghe were in the reverse positions at the 2018 World Championships and these two friends are happy to be on the podium together in any position - these two good friends like giving and taking with each other.

Badloe on the medal race, "No nerves today, there was just a bit more at stake today but I had to keep in mind that the points were super close and to keep on eye on everyone else. I just tried to put everyone else out of my mind and go fast. It's a little different to last year with Dorian and I going differently to last year. It shows what we are doing works and we are having a solid program."

The gold fleet of the RS:X had more countries than qualification spots and the fight for the 8 spots had been going on over the past two days of finals racing. With yesterday's cancellation of racing, the final standings showed that the following countries had provisionally booked their tickets to Tokyo; Korea, Hong Kong, Belarus, Switzerland, Lithuania, United States, Cyprus and Czech Republic.

These World Championships were the final major event of the RS:X Class for 2019 with attention firmly now focused on Tokyo 2020 and all of the remaining qualification events where countries can get their tickets to Tokyo. The 2020 World Championships are in New Zealand in February, one of the last true barometers of performance for the sailors before heading to Japan.

Finally, the RS:X Class would like to thank everyone at the Circolo Surf Torbole, the volunteers, the officials and the supporters of the class that have made the 2019 RS:X World Championships so special for everyone involved. 2019 has seen such spectacular events for the class and all of the sailors deserve a well earned break before the battles begin again in the new year!

Related Articles

Gladwell's Line: In the aftermath of Bermuda
A look at some of the issues of the past week or so, including the America's Cup A look at some of the issues of the past week or so, including the America's Cup and particularly Emirates Team New Zealand's progress with their first AC75, plus the World Sailing Annual Conference's wins and fails, and more. Posted on 10 Nov
Mini-Transat La Boulangère day 4
The skippers are just about done with the demanding passage across the Bay of Biscay. Virtually all the competitors are opting to pass inside the Cape Finisterre TSS, aside from four sailors who are going for broke to the Far West, a move they hope will pay off. Posted on 8 Oct
Team GB reveals first athletes for Tokyo 2020
Hannah Mills and Giles Scott are among 12 sailors selected The Rio 2016 champions are joined by a host of elite sailors representing eight of the 10 Olympic sailing classes, as the team is announced at Haven Holiday Park, Rockley Park in Poole. Posted on 2 Oct
Top ten for Britain's Saskia Sills
At the RS:X World Championships Saskia Sills posted her best ever RS:X world championship finish claiming ninth place in Torbole, Italy, as Andy Brown and Emma Wilson picked up silverware in the under 21 category. Posted on 29 Sep
Two more US sailors qualify for Tokyo 2020 Games
Pascual and Hall qualify USA for country representation in the RS:X class Because there are more countries competing in the RS:X class than available spots on the Olympic starting line, countries must qualify for the games before athlete trials can be decided. Posted on 29 Sep
2019 RS:X World Championships day 4
Fading winds frustrate The penultimate day of the 2019 RS:X World Championships fizzled out amongst expectations of strong winds that simply failed to show up to the party today. Posted on 28 Sep
RS:X Worlds day 3
Pack shuffled as Lake Garda plays Joker The 2019 RS:X World Championships being held in Torbole, Italy, rolled into the third day with a fair amount of optimism from the 236 sailors from 47 nations. Posted on 27 Sep
2019 RS:X World Championships day 2
The right side of the track on Lake Garda Day 2 of the 2019 RS:X World Championships being held in Torbole, Italy, saw the all important split of the fleets as the racing moved from qualifying series into the final series of racing. Posted on 26 Sep
2019 RS:X World Championships day 1
A game of two halves on Lake Garda Day 1 of the 2019 RS:X World Championships dawned - quite literally - upon the 236 competitors who were eager to start their championship campaigns this morning. Posted on 25 Sep
More tough news for U.S. Olympic sailing interests
Latest Sail-World North American newsletter from David Schmidt Let's face it: The situation for U.S. Olympic sailing has been bleak for a long time, and based on last week's news, odds are now good that the news cycle will continue to be bumpy through the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Posted on 24 Sep