Ready Steady Tokyo Day Three - Conditions Challenge Olympic Hopefuls
At the midway point of Ready Steady Tokyo, the official test event for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games hosted by the Japanese capital, it is becoming growingly apparent that versatility and consistency will determine our Olympic champions in a years time.
Great Britain’s Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey have lead the 49erFX fleet since the opening race of the regatta, building a solid 10 point lead after 9 races with only one finish outside of the top five. Brazilian superstars Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze head into the penultimate day of racing in second position and are yet to finish a race outside of the top eight.
“It was pretty hot today.” says Tidey. “The team has done a great job to help us conquer that but I must admit I went for a bit of a swim between races – intentional of course – to cool down. I’m sure everyone is feeling it out there and it’s about trying to focus and not let it take over all your thoughts.”
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech from New Zealand won the day and currently sit in third position. With only a single result out of the top ten the Rio silver medallists are within striking distance of the leaders. Norway’s Helene Næss and Marie Rønningon dropped to fourth after their 1st and 5th results were not good enough to balance out two results outside of the top ten.
The leading British duo has performed intermittently at the elite level but is on the verge of peaking at just the right moment. After the 2018 Europeans and World Championships, it was their national rivals Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth who took the bronze medal at both regattas ahead of Dobson and Tidey and looked like the leading team for the British Sailing Team’s selection to Tokyo. Ainsworth suffered an off-water knee injury just days prior to the 2019 European Championship, hindering their performance and opening the door for Dobson and Tidey to compete at Ready Steady Tokyo. If they can finish on the top of the podium in Enoshima, that could secure their Olympic berth for Great Britain.
In the men’s 49er fleet, New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke regained their overall lead with a consistent scorecard of 4 – 3 – 2 – 2 and were the only top-five team to keep their results inside of the top ten. “When you have four two-lap races, there’s a lot of decisions to make and we managed to do that pretty well today,” Tuke said. “It was nice to walk away with four good ones.”
Poland’s Pawel Kolodzinski and Lucas Przybytek faltered in the second race of the day, scoring their worst result of the day (11th) and dropped back to second place. Austria’s Benjamin Bildsteing and David Hussl looked set to ingress on the leaders scoring two wins and a seventh, but dropped to 14th in the final race. Due to a 19th on day one, their result day is one they will have to carry through to the final scores of the regatta barring any further high scoring races.
The only other team to come close to the Kiwis today was the German pair of Justus Schmidt and Maximilian Boehme who scored 18 points over the four races compared to the 11 points for Burling and Tuke. The Germans move up the leaderboard and into sixth overall behind World Champions Sime and Mihovil Fantela (CRO) and European Champions Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell (GBR).
In recent years, the 49er class has become one of the tightest on the Olympic slate. Just 28 points separate 4th from 14th place with six different race winners from the nine races sailed. In the 20 boat fleet for Ready Steady Tokyo and the double points medal race scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, there is still plenty of opportunity for those down the leaderboard to leapfrog their way onto the podium.
How to Follow
Racing continues on Tuesday from 1200 local time with three races before the decisive medal race on Wednesday, scheduled from 1330.
SAP Sailing have volunteered their services this week in an unofficial capacity to provide Live tracking of all racing at Ready Steady Tokyo – Sailing.
Live Tracking – Tokyo2019.sapsailing.com
Photos & Results – https://49er.org/event/2019-test-event/
1st – Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL) 25pts
2nd – Pawel Kolodzinski & Lucas Przybytek (POL) 30pts
3rd – Benjamin Bildsteing & David Hussl (AUT) 41pts
4th – Dylan Fletcher & Stuart Bithell (GBR) 51pts
5th – Sime Fantela & Mihovil Fantela (CRO) 55pts
1st – Charlotte Dobson & Saskia Tidey (GBR) 19pts
2nd – Martine Soffiatti Grael & Kahena Kunze (BRA) 29pts
3rd – Alex Maloney & Molly Meech (NZL) 34pts
4th – Helene Næss & Marie Rønningen (NOR) 43pts
5th – Ida Marie Baad Nielsen & Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) 54pts