Spain and The Netherlands guaranteed their presence in Tokyo in the ILCA 7 class, being the best of the 16 countries that were trying to occupy the two available spots in the European Continental Olympic Qualification of ILCA class that ended today in Vilamoura.
It was an exciting last day of racing, both in the search for the first place in the competition and in the fight for Olympic slots, with the wind and sea conditions forcing the athletes to a greater physical effort and technical mastery.
After 12 races the Spanish sailor Joel Rodriguez Perez reached the 9th place overall, but always led the fight for the Olympic places and guaranteed his country’s slot.
“We knew it was going to be a close fight. I had a bad day, but the week was better, enough to guarantee today the goal of taking Spain to the Olympic Games,” said the Spanish sailor.
The second available slot was subject to a fierce competition between the Belgians and Dutch, with Duko Bos winning and guaranteeing the presence of the Netherlands in Tokyo. However, he will not be the sailor who will be competing in the Olympics.
“It was a tough day, I started well, I was happy with the 1st race, but the 2nd didn’t go as planned. I tried to recover, and it was enough to qualify the country, but not to be selected, which causes mixed feelings,” confessed the athlete.
At a race in which some of the countries with guaranteed presence in the Olympic Games decided who would represent them in Tokyo, the last day dictated the victory of the German Philipp Buhl after a rise of places in recent days.
“Today was exhausting, but I did well with a second and first place,” said Buhl.
“It was really hard but fun at the same time. In the last race I gave my best, as a matter of fact like everyone else. I’m very happy to have won.”
Five-time Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt (BRA) secured second place in the general classification of the ILCA 7 class, while the current vice-champion, Michael Beckett (GBR), secured third.
In the ILCA 6, the two Olympic slots had been secured ahead of the final day for Israel by Shai Kakon and for Portugal by Carolina João, and attention was focused on the fight for the lead.
Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) was the winner after having led the table since the first day. Second place went to Josefin Olsson (SWE) and Manami Doi (JPN) held on to third place.
The European Continental Olympic Qualification of the ILCA class, organised by Vilamoura Sailing, gathered almost 230 sailors from 44 countries.