Philipp Buhl won his first world title at the 2020 Laser World Championships. The event also acted as the Oceania qualifier where the top two eligible boats qualified to the Olympics. The Laser World Championships was held in Melbourne, Australia from February 9th to February 16th 2020.
The 124-boat fleet was initially split into three qualifying groups. The first day saw two races held. By winning one race and finished second in the other the day was led by Australia’s Finn Alexander and Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic. The second day saw two more races along with the worst result being dropped. This gave Germany’s Philipp Buhl and France’s Jean Baptiste Bernaz the shared lead as both sailors had three first place finishes in their respective qualifying groups. Another two races were held on the third day where Buhl took sole possession of the lead, holding a two-point lead over Bernaz. The fourth day saw no races due to poor weather. The fifth day saw the top boats combined to compete in the gold fleet. Three races were held where Buhl extended his lead over Bernaz to four. The final day contained three races. A couple of poor performance by Bernaz caused him to drop entirely out of the medal standings, finishing in fourth. Buhl maintained his lead for his first world title with a final score of 26. For the third straight World Championships, Australia’s Matt Wearn finished with the silver medal while Stipanovic finished with the bronze.
In terms of Olympic quotas, they went to Samoa’s Eroni Leilua and Papua New Guinea’s Teariki Numa. This will be Samoa’s debut in the sport while Papua New Guinea is returning for the first time since 1992.
This was the final opportunity for Oceania nations to qualify in these events. The next continent to have qualifiers in these events will be Asia, set to be held in March.