Sailing: Netherlands Sweep Gold Medals at 2020 RS:X World Championships

The Netherlands scored a double victory at the 2020 RS:X World Championships. The event also acted as the Oceania qualifier where the highest ranked eligible boat in the men’s and women’s RS:X qualified to the Olympics. The RS:X World Championships was held in Sorento, Australia from February 23rd to February 29th 2020.

The men’s RS:X was split into two fleets during the qualifying stage. The first day contained three races. By winning two races and finishing second on the third it was 2019 World bronze medalist Pierre Le Coq of France whom led all boats. However, a poor second day caused him to drop to eighth. There were three races with the worst score being dropped. Defending world champion Kiran Badloe of the Netherlands took over the lead with a net score of 9. Another three races were held on the third day where the top boats were merged into the gold fleet. Badloe added two more victories to his total to take a 25 point lead over Poland’s Pawel Tarnowski. The fourth day saw three more races and a second score dropped. While Badloe’s lead dropped to 10 only his compatriot Dorian van Rijsselberghe would be able to catch him with only the medal race remaining. During the medal race, Badloe did just enough to hold onto a two point lead to win gold over his compatriot. The bronze medal was won by France’s Thomas Goyard.

The women’s RS:X had a single fleet competing throughout the competition. The first day contained three races where Poland’s Maja Dziarnowska was the most consistent athlete and took the lead. The second day had three more races along with the worst score dropped. This allowed Israel’s Noy Drihan to drop her 21st place performance on the first day to take a one point lead over Dziarnowska. Drihan remained in the lead on the third day where three races were as she held a four point lead against Netherlands’ Lilian de Geus. The fourth day contained three races and a second score was dropped. Drihan’s lead disappeared as de Geus tied things up with just the medal race remaining. Drihan would go on to have a poor medal race where she fell into the bronze medal position, falling short against winner de Geus and France’s Charline Picon.

In terms of Olympic qualification, it was New Zealand who picked up both quotas with Antonino Cozzolino being the highest ranked eligible athlete in the men’s RS:X and Veerle ten Have being the highest ranked eligible athlete in the women’s RS:X. This was the final opportunity for Oceania nations to qualify in this event. The next continent to have its RS:X qualifiers will be Asia, set to be held in March.

Qualified Nations

Men’s RS:X
* New Zealand

Women’s RS:X
* New Zealand

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