Sailing: Match Race Decided Winners at 470 World Championships

The men’s and women’s 470 events came down to the match race to decide the winners at the 2019 470 World Championships. In terms of Olympic qualification, the top four eligible nations in the men’s 470 and the top six eligible nations in the women’s 470 qualified a quota. The 470 World Championships was held in Enoshima, Japan from August 2nd to August 9th 2019.

Overall the men were split into two qualifying groups while the women competed in a single group. Due to poor weather conditions no races were held on the first day of competition. The second day saw two races held for both events. The leaders were Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom in the men’s 470 and Spain’s Silvia Mas and Patricia Cantero in the women’s 470. The third day saw three races each with the worst result being dropped. The men’s 470 saw Spain’s Jordi Xammar and Nicolas Rodriguez take the lead thanks to three first place finishes in the blue fleet. Their compatriots Mas and Cantero had a disqualification in the fourth race along with relatively poor performances in the other races dropping them to ninth place in the women’s 470. The leader was Japan’s Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka whom held a slim one-point lead over Poland’s Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Jolanta Ogar.

At this point the men’s 470 fleets were combined where the top 26 boats advanced to the gold fleet while the rest advanced to the silver fleet. Three races were held on the first day of finals where a consistent performance by Australia’s Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan saw them take a one-point lead over Xammar and Rodriguez. The second day contained another three races with both the Australian and Spanish pair performing well. By the end of the day Xammar and Rodriguez held a one-point lead over Belcher and Ryan going into the medal race. As only ten boats advanced to the medal race the Olympic quotas were decided with Greece, Russia, China and Turkey all qualifying.

The match race was a bit anti-climatic as Xammar and Rodriguez were one of three boats to start on the wrong side of the course, forcing them to get 22 points. This gave Belcher and Ryan the gold medal with 30 net points while the Spanish pair retained the silver medal with 45 points. Dahlberg and Bergstrom won the bronze medal with 54 points.

For the final stages of the women’s 470, all boats remained in contention for the medals. The first day saw three races where two victories and a second place allowed Great Britain’s Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre to take a five-point lead over Kondo Yoshida and Yoshioka. The next day saw three more races where Kondo Yoshida and Yoshioka narrowed the gap to Mills and McIntyre to just one point going into the medal race. With only ten boats advancing the Olympic quotas were decided with Poland, Australia and Brazil advancing to the medal race while Netherlands, New Zealand and Germany also gained a spot to compete at the Olympics.

The match race saw Mills and McIntyre do everything in order to stay in front of Kondo Yoshida and Yoshioka as they went on to win the gold medal with 62 net points, three fewer than the Japanese pair. The bronze medal was won by France’s Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz whom finished with 72 points.

Other nations will have a final opportunity to qualify to the Olympics at their respective continental qualifiers. The next boat to have its world qualifiers will be the RS:X class to be held in September.

Qualified Nations

Men’s 470
* China
* Greece
* Russia
* Turkey

Women’s 470
* Australia
* Brazil
* Germany
* Netherlands
* New Zealand
* Poland

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