Sailing: Cohen and Picon Strike Gold at European RS:X Championship

Israel’s Yoav Cohen and France’s Charline Picon led each day to win gold at the 2020 European RS:X Championships. In terms of Olympic qualification, the highest ranked nation not yet qualified in each event won a spot to compete at the Olympics. The European RS:X Championships was held in Vilamour, Portugal from November 22nd to November 28th 2020.

In the women’s RS:X it was defending Olympic champion, Picon whom finished the first day of three races in the lead with eight points, ahead of Poland’s Zofia Noceti-Klepacka and 2020 World champion Lilian de Geus of the Netherlands. Despite finishing tenth (which became a dropped score) on the first race of the second day, Picon won the other two races to extend her lead over the field to seven points. In second place was 2019 World Championship silver medalist Katy Spychakov of Israel. The third day saw three more races with Picon holding a six-point lead over 2019 European silver medalist Emma Wilson of Great Britain. Due to poor weather, the other scheduled races were cancelled and only the medal race was held. The race was won by Picon whom clinched her gold medal (25 net points) ahead of Spychakov (39 net points) and Noceti-Klepacka (44 net points) whom finished with the silver and bronze medals respectively

Cohen led all sailors after the first day which included three races in the men’s RS:X where he held a narrow one-point lead over Switzerland’s Mateo Sanz Lanz. The second day of three more races saw Cohen extend his lead over the field to 11 points with his compatriot Yoav Omer in second place thanks to consistent sailing. Three more races were held on day three where Cohen’s lead shrank to eight points due to the performance of second place Byron Kokkalanis of Greece. As with the women’s event, poor weather prevented any more races to be held with the exception of the medal race. The medal race was won by 2019 & 2020 World champion Kiran Badloe of the Netherlands which allowed him to finish with the bronze medal (55 net points). A fifth-place finish was more than enough for Cohen to win the event (45 net points) ahead of his compatriot Shahar Zubari whom finished second (51 net points).

In terms of Olympic qualification, the women’s RS:X quota was won by Greece’s Aikaterini Divari whom finished 18th while the men’s RS:X quota was won by Russia’s Aleksandr Askerov whom finished 20th overall.

The field for the RS:X events is almost complete with only a single spot remaining which will be decided at the 2021 Asian Championships. The next European sailing qualifier is currently set for the 470 class to be held at the 2021 470 World Championships. However, with travel restrictions ever evolving the schedule may change.

Qualified Nations

Men’s RS:X
* Russia

Women’s RS:X
* Greece

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