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Luke Ruitenberg takes lead for a potential Canadian spot in ILCA 7 at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

by Sail Canada 1 Feb 01:21 GMT
Luke Ruitenberg takes lead for a potential Canadian spot in ILCA 7 at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games © Sail Canada

Luke Ruitenberg from St. Margaret's Bay, N.S., was the top Canadian at the 2024 ILCA 7 Men's World Championship, which ended today in Adelaide, Australia, with a 40th-place finish, therefore taking the lead for the Canadian spot that will be awarded in this event at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, if Canada qualifies a spot.

The 2024 ILCA 7 Men's World Championship was the first of two competitions serving for the Canadian athlete qualification process in ILCA 7. The second and last opportunity will be the Princess Sofia Regatta, March 29-April 6 in Palma, Spain.

Luke Ruitenberg's 40th position was his best-ever personal performance at the ILCA 7 Men's World Championship. He finished 70th in the past two editions.

It was also Canada's best performance at the ILCA 7 Men's World Championship since 2020.

The 2024 ILCA 7 Men's World Championship also served as a spot qualification event for countries towards Paris 2024 for the top seven nations amongst those not already qualified. A total of 152 athletes were in action at the 2024 ILCA 7 Men's World Championship, including all medalists from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the 2022 ILCA 7 World Championship and the 2023 Sailing World Championships.

Although this was Luke Ruitenberg's best-ever personal performance at this event, it wasn't enough to qualify a spot for the country in ILCA 7 at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, as Canada came in 11th position amongst the countries that had not already qualified.

"Despite not achieving the goal of qualifying Canada at this event, I'm happy with the way I sailed and knowing that I gave it everything I had this week," said Luke Ruitenberg.

"I've had a lot of highs and lows over the last few weeks. Just before coming to Australia, I fell ill, I lost a lot of weight and I was questioning whether I'd be competitive at this championship. Over the following weeks, I was able to make a decent recovery, and I sailed a great qualifying series to start the regatta in 12-15 knot conditions. For the second part of the regatta in finals, we had a big breeze, with wind upwards of 25 knots on day 5. I reached my physical limit in those conditions and, unfortunately, I wasn't able to perform at the same level."

Canada will have one last chance to qualify a spot for the country in ILCA 7 for Paris at the Last Chance Regatta to be held April 21-26 in Hyères, France. There, Canadian sailors will need to finish amongst the top three countries not already qualified.

"Up next are the World Cups in Palma, Spain, and then Hyeres, France, where we will have another shot at Olympic qualification," added Luke Ruitenberg. "I'm excited for the challenge ahead and confident that our team can achieve the goal!"

Canadian ILCA 7 Ranking for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (if Canada earns a spot) (after event #1 out of 2)

1. Luke Ruitenberg (St. Margaret's Bay, N.S.-RNSYS) - 40 pts
2. Mike Leigh (Nanaimo, B.C.) - 77 pts
3. Fillah Karim (Vancouver, B.C.-RVYC) - 79 pts
4. Ryan Anderson (Halifax, N.S.-RNSYS) - 80 points
5. Liam Bruce (Oakville, ON-Port Credit YC) - 85 pts
6. Norman Struthers (Toronto, ON-RCYC) - 91 pts
7. James Juhasz (Oakville, ON-BHYC) - 107 pts
8. Ben Flower (Tobermory, ON-Tobermory YC) - 121 pts

How Canadian athletes qualify themselves for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games

The 2024 ILCA 7 World Championship was the first of two competitions that served as the Canadian qualification process in ILCA 7 for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, if Canada qualifies a spot.

For each class in which Canada qualifies a spot for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, athletes and teams can qualify themselves by being the athlete/team with the lowest score combined position from the 2024 World Championships in their respective classes and the 2024 Princess Sofia Regatta, added together, with selection being based on a sailing scoring system (lowest score first).

If there is a tie, the athlete/team in the higher position (based on the sailing scoring system) at the 2024 Princess Sofia Regatta will qualify to be nominated. If an event is cancelled, it will be replaced by the 2024 European Championships in that class.

Prior to being named to Team Canada, all nominations are subject to approval by the Canadian Olympic Committee's Team Selection Committee after it has received nominations from all National Sport Organizations.

As of today, Canada has qualified spots for the sailing competitions at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in ILCA 6, 49er, 49erFX and women's kiteboarding. For the other events, Canada can still qualify spots in other competitions that will be coming up in 2024.

Full qualification processes for countries to qualify spots at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, the manner in which Canadians can qualify themselves to be nominated for the Paris 2024 Team Canada squad, as well as the full qualification calendar are available at www.sailing.ca/sc_event/2024-olympic-games.

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