The second ranking release for 2004 was issued on 14 April in this all important Olympic year following the culmination of the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma, Mallorca.
Events included range from the ISAF Grade W Finn Gold Cup - the world championship for the Finn class - to the ISAF Grade 3 XIII Qatar International Regatta for the Laser.
With the final qualification regattas for all the Olympic Classes currently underway or taking place in the coming months the pressure is on for those final slots at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Windsurfer Men - Mistral
(UKR) continues to lead the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, maintaining the position he acquired at the last Rankings release on 6 February 2004.
Event results included in today's release of 14 April include the ISAF Grade 2 Sail Auckland which Oberemko won, ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp where victory went to Przemek `Pont' MIARCZYNSKI
(POL) and the ISAF Grade 2 Olympic Garda - Eurolymp which was won by Samuel LAUNAY (FRA).
Whilst Oberemko and Miarczynski regularly feature at the top, Samuel LAUNAY's result at Olympic Garda marked his first bullet at an ISAF Graded event over the past two years and has helped moved him up to 23 in the world, from 25, edging closer to make the break into the top 20. Currently competing at the Mistral World Championships, Launay has already posted some top results and if he remains on form will gain more valuable ranking points, to be included in the next ISAF World Sailing Rankings to be released after the Mistral World Championship and Semaine Olympique Francaise on 6 May 2004.
Overall, the top 20 sailors in the windsurfer men have not changed, although there has been some jiggling of positions. Whilst the world's top 6 remain the same, the sailors ranked 7, 8 and 9 have all had a shift around. Looking at those sailors ranked 10 through to 20, there have only been two changes as Nikolas KAKLAMANAKIS (GRE) has been usurped to 17 from 16 by Spain's Ivan PASTOR LAFUENTE, who moves up to 16 from 17.
The 2004 Mistral World Championship is currently underway in Turkey. This event is also the final Qualification Regatta for the 2004 Olympic Games and sailors are vying for the final seven slots available. Keep up with the latest news on the ISAF Website.
Windsurfer Women - Mistral
Only two events, the ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp and ISAF Grade 2 Olympic Garda - Eurolymp count for the women, and it continues to be Lise VIDAL (FRA) who holds her grip as the number one female windsurfer in the world, a position she has held since July 2003. Whilst the events counting towards her world ranking do not include any wins, consistency is the name of the game for Lise and it is this format which keeps her at the top.
Winning both the events included in this rankings is defending Olympic gold medallist Alessandra SENSINI (ITA), who at the time of writing is leading the women's fleet at the Mistral World Championships. Due to the twelve month rolling effect of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, despite these top results Alessandra has actually dropped down one place in the rankings, to sit 12 overall. However, clearly on form at the Worlds in Turkey, there is little doubt that Alessandra will move back up and may break into top world's top 10, a position she last held at the end of 2003.
One sailor breaking into the world's top 20 is Anja KAESER (SUI) who moves up to 20 from 22.
Further down the rankings, an upwards mover is Olympic Solidarity Scholarship holder Irina KONSTANTINOVA (BUL), who moves up to 34 from 36. The Olympic Solidarity scholarship helps to provide financial support for Irina's training and Olympic campaign. 'The Olympic Scholarship has enabled me to take part in more competitions from the ISAF calendar, to train with other teams and for the first time to sail during the European winter ( December - March). This has been very important for me to improve my level of sailing and to prepare myself for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.' commented Irina.
Irina claimed Bulgaria's place to Athens 2004 after her result at the 2003 ISAF World Championship in Cadiz last year.
The 2004 Mistral World Championship is currently underway in Turkey. This event is also the final Qualification Regatta for the 2004 Olympic Games and sailors are vying for the final five slots available. Keep up with the latest news on the ISAF Website.
Single-handed Dinghy Women - Europe
The results from two ISAF Grade 2 events and two ISAF Grade 3 events are included in this ranking for the Europe. They are Athens Eurolymp Week and the Princess Sofia Trophy and the International Sailing Carnival Regatta and Olympic Garda-Eurolymp respectively.
There is however no change at the top and with a win at Princess Sofia Trophy, the only ranking event she entered that counts for this release, 2003 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Siren SUNDBY of Norway retains the top spot she has held since October 2003. Behind Siren there is only one change in the top ten and that is the rise of Sarah BLANCK (AUS)to number nine. The 2002 World Champion, finished second at the Princess Sofia Trophy but like Sundby did not compete at the other ranking events in this period.
There are only minor changes in position down the rest of the rankings. Some of the bigger climbers outside the top 50 include Serena AMATO (ARG), the 2000 Olympic bronze medallist, who has been steadily rising back up the rankings since October 2002 when she was at 173. After finishing sixteenth at the Princess Sofia Trophy, Amato has risen nine places over her position on the last ranking release, and sits at number 78. Another big climber is Verena WAGNER (AUT) who has shot up nineteen places to number 63.
Coming up later this month is the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Francaise from 23-30. Not only does this event carry valuable ranking points but it is also the final Olympic Qualification Regatta for the single-handed dinghy women's event where five more sailors will get the chance to qualify their nation to the 2004 Olympic Games.
Single-handed Dinghy Open - Laser
One ISAF Grade 1, seven ISAF Grade 2 and two ISAF Grade 3 events are counting towards this ranking release but there is surprisingly little change in position. The top fifteen have not shifted at all meaning Michael BLACKBURN (AUS) remains at the number one spot where he has resided since October 2003. There is one new entry to the top twenty, at the expense of Mark MENDELBLATT (USA) who dips out to number 21, and that is Pieter Jan POSTMA (NED) who climbs to number eighteen.
A big climber is Deigo ROMERO from Argentina who represented his country in Sydney. Romero's second place at the ISAF Grade 2 Laser Central & South American Championship, behind the legendary Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) has helped pushed him fifteen places up the rankings to number 33. Scheidt remains at number two.
The only ISAF Grade 1 event to count for this ranking release is the Midwinters East Clearwater YC held in Clearwater, Florida, USA. This event was won by Canadian Michael LEIGH who is now ranked at 30.
The next big event for the Laser will be the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Francaise at the end of April and then ten days later, the final Olympic Qualification regatta - the World Championship in Turkey, starting on 10 May.
Double-handed Dinghy Men - 470
The results from five events are included in this issue of the World Rankings, ISAF Grade 2 Sail Auckland, ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp Week, ISAF Grade 3 International Sailing Carnival Regatta, ISAF Grade 3 Olympic Garda-Eurolymp and the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy.
The world's top four crews sit tight in the same positions as the release on 6 February 2004. Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) continue to lead, followed by Philippe GILDAS and Nicolas LE BERRE (FRA), despite neither of these crews having participated in any events which have counted towards their world ranking. Despite the third world ranked Andreas KOSMATOPOLOUS and Kostas TRIGONIS (GRE) placing fifth at the ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp, this result did not generate sufficient points to be included on their rankings events, hence their points continue to be generated from the same events which counted towards the rankings release on 6 February.
The fourth placed Benjamin BONNAUD and Romai BONNAUD (FRA) placed second overall at Athens Eurolymp, but similar to the Greek pairing they continue to count the events from the previous ranking.
The most significant movers in the top 10 are new entries Paul FOERSTER and Kevin BURNHAM (USA) who move up to number 9 in the world from 14, marking their highest world ranking in recent years. Whilst not their most impressive result, it was their fourteenth place at the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy which propelled them upwards.
There has been some minor shifting around in positions amongst the world's top 20, but it is the same sailors who appear. No big changes elsewhere, apart from the move up by the Slovenian pair of Karlo HMELJAK and Mitja NEVECNY, to 34 from 40, based on their results at Athens Eurolymp.
Double-handed Dinghy Women - 470
A continuation of form spreads over to the women's fleet, with France's Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadege DOUROUX remaining at the top.
Whilst Sofia BEKATOROU and Emilia TSOULFA (GRE) won the Athens Eurolymp and Princess Sofia Trophy they hold the same ranking position of sixth, as their results only increased their points total by 10 points. In each event Ingrid and Nadege placed behind the Greek pairing, and these results have not been included in the events making up their rankings as higher points are generated from their other results. For Sofia and Emilia, their current ranking marks the lowest position they have held in the world for more than two years. Whilst they have placed some superb results, including winning the 2003 ISAF World Championship and making history by successfully winning the 470 World Championship for four consecutive years, they remain on a chase to claim back the coveted number one position in the world.
There is no change in the order of the world's top 10 since the previous rankings, with the only movement being a shift around in positions between those ranked 11 through to 14. The main beneficiary of this has been Vesna DEKLEVA and Klara MAUCED (SLO) who move up to 11 from 14, a move generated by their second place at the ISAF Grade 2 Olympic Garda.
Further down, it is much the same picture with the same sailors in the rankings from 20 through to 40, with just a few changes in position.
The next big event for the Women's and Men's 470 is the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Francaise at the end of April which will act as an ideal warm up to the 2004 World Championship and final qualification event for the Olympic Games which takes place in Croatia from 4 - 16 May.
Double-handed Dinghy Open - 49er
There are only three events counting for the 49er ranking, one ISAF Grade 3, Olympic Garda - Eurolymp, and two ISAF Grade 2 being the Australian Nationals and Athens Eurolymp. There is subsequently little change to the positions. The top five places all remain the same with 2003 World Champions and ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominees Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR) staying at number one.
There are no new entries into the top twenty and only minor changes in position. Tim WADLOW and Pete SPAULDING (USA) who won their national Olympic selection trials in March have swopped sixth place for seventh with Marcus BAUR and Max GROY (GER) whose win at Athens Eurolymp has helped them rise to number six.
Attendance at the Australian National Championships has resulted in the addition of five more crews to the 49er World Sailing Rankings, the highest placed being the event winners A BEASHEL and E SMYTH who enter at number 113.
Currently underway is the 49er World Championship and final Olympic Qualification Regatta in Athens, Greece so keep an eye on the ISAF website for all the latest news.
Single-handed Dinghy Men - Finn
It comes as no surprise that there is no change at the top of the Finn rankings! On 29 February, history was made in Brazil when Britain's Ben AINSLIE won his third consecutive Finn Gold Cup. The new World Champion followed this with an emphatic performance at the Princess Sofia Trophy, winning seven out of the nine races in which he sailed, and thus remains firmly at the top of the Finn Rankings. Ainslie is steadily extending his lead over Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ (POL) who remains in second.
Three and four also remain the same and are held by Sebastian GODEFROID (BEL) and Karlo KURET (CRO) respectively. Dropping out of the top ten from five to eleven is Michael FELLMAN (GER). The only points Fellman counts for this release is from the Finn Gold Cup where he finished an unexceptional 37.
Taking Fellman's place at number five is the 2003 ISAF World Championship silver medallist, Rafael TRUJILLO-VILLAR (ESP). Trujillo-Villar moves up one place from number six after finishing eighth at the Finn Gold Cup, sixth at Princess Sofia and taking first place at the ISAF Grade 2 Olympic Garda - Eurolymp.
Sailors going down include Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE), who, despite finishing second at Olympic Garda and fourteenth at Princess Sofia, has slid 11 places down the rankings and out of the top twenty to number 21. Not competing at the Finn Gold Cup is certainly a contributory factor. On the other hand David BURROWS (IRL) has certainly benefited from his performance in Brazil. Taking his first ever medal at a Finn Gold Cup, Burrows went home with the bronze, finished seventh at Princess Sofia and tenth at Olymic Garda and has subsequently shot ten places up the rankings to number 22 and is now the highest ranked Finn Sailor from Ireland.
Another sailor to shoot up the rankings is America's Cup legend, Dean BARKER (NZL). Barker is now ranked at 66, rising from 133 in February after top 15 results at all three of the ISAF Graded events he has entered. The 2004 Junior World Champion, Tappio NIRKKO (FIN) has risen 11 places up the scale to number 50 - his highest position so far.
The final Qualification Regatta for the Finn is the European Championship which takes place from 7 - 15 May in La Rocelle, France.
Multihull Open - Tornado
With the Tornado World Championship and final Olympic Qualification Regatta currently underway in Palma, Mallorca, the latest ISAF World Sailing Rankings will no doubt soon change. Results from four events count to the latest rankings, ISAF Grade 2 Sail Auckland, ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp Week, ISAF Grade 1 Tornado European Championships and ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy.
Whilst the reigning World Champions, Darren BUNDOCK and John FORBES (AUS) continue to descend down the world rankings dropping from 8 to 10, Mitch BOOTH and Herbert DERCKSEN (NED) retain the number one spot. Behind Booth and Dercksen, the picture remains static with Roman HAGARA and Hans Peter STEINACHER in second, followed by Olivier BACKES and Laurent VOIRON (FRA).
However, the situation for Bundock and Forbes should not be misread, as their fall has nothing to do with recent form but an absence from competing in any ISAF Graded events so far in 2004. Their appearance at the 2004 Tornado World Championships marks their first significant event since the 2003 ISAF World Championship, which as we will all remember, they won in style.
After their ascent into the world's top 5 at the last release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Leigh MCMILLAN and Mark BULKELEY (GBR) continue their form, moving one more place up to sit at fourth in the world, their highest ever placing.
Two new crews have broken into the world's top 10, Roland GAEBLER and Gunnar STRUCKMANN (GER) and Yann GUICHARD and Christophe ESPAGNON (FRA). Whilst Guichard and Espagnon are returning to a position they only recently vacated, for Gaebler and Struckmann this is a significant result and marks their highest placing for more than two years.
Gaebler is synonymous with Tornado sailing, having won a bronze medal at the 2000 Olympic Regatta, alongside his many top Tornado World Championship results, including the gold in 2000, 1997 and 1996, a bronze in 1999, and silver in 1998. Gaebler, who took a leave of absence from the Tornado Class after the 2000 Olympic Regatta, returned to the circuit in 2003, qualified Germany for the 2004 Olympic Sailing Competition at the 2003 ISAF World Championship, and certainly looks set to be on the startline in Athens.
Keelboat Women - Yngling
Dorte JENSEN and her crew Hellen JESPERSEN and Rachel KIEL (DEN) retain their perch at the top of the Yngling rankings and there are only minor changes below her in the top twenty. Shirley ROBERTSON , Sarah AYTON and Sarah WEBB (GBR) have finally broken into the top ten, their fourth place at Princess Sofia, an event they won in 2003, has helped boost them two places up to number eight.
Giulia CONTI, Alessandra MARENZI and Angela BARONI (ITA) have made the biggest climb inside the top twenty, moving up four places to number twelve, her highest ranking position yet. Conti is also ranked at number 15 in the Women's Match Race Rankings and has qualified Italy in the Yngling for Athens 2004. At only 18 years of age she is definitely one to watch.
The winner in the Yngling at the Princess Sofia Trophy and Athens Eurolymp Week, the only Grade 2 events counting in this ranking release, was Annelies THIES, Petronella DE JONG and Annemieke BES from the Netherlands. Thies however moves down one place in the rankings to number thirteen, due to some of her older results being down-weighted or rotating off her points calculation. The event to count was the ISAF Grade 3 Olympic Garda - Eurolymp which was won by Ulrike SCHUEMANN, Winnie LIPPERT and Wibke BUELL from Germany, Schuemann remains at number three.
The final qualification event for the Yngling takes place in Santander, Spain from 7 - 15 May, just a week after the conclusion of the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Francaise.
Keelboat Men - Star
No change at the top of the Star rankings as Freddie LOOF and Anders EKSTROM (SWE) took their third Star European Championship victory collecting valuable ranking points in the process and further extending their lead at the top.
Moving up to second place from number five is Colin BEASHEL and David GILES from Australia. The pair were selected last week to represent Australia at the Olympic Games in Athens giving them a chance to improve on their Silver medal in Atlanta. This will be the pair's fourth Olympic Games sailing a Star. They represented their country in 1992, 1996 and 2000 and 2004 will mark a record breaking sixth appearance for Beashel - no other Australian athlete has attended more Olympic Games.
Mark MANSFIELD and Killian COLLINS (IRL) remain in third place but moving up three places to fourth is Iain PERCY and Steve MITCHELL (GBR). Peter BROMBY and Martin SEISE (BER) slide down from number two to five. The biggest climber into the top twenty is multiple Olympic medallist and world champion Torben GRAEL from Brazil who moves up ten places to number 13.
There a numerous minor changes in the ranking positions but only a few notable rises and falls. One of these is Paul CAYARD and Phil TRINTER (USA) who slide fourteen places down to 28. It is highly unlikely that either will be particularly concerned by this as they sailed in neither of the ranking events. Instead, they were busy winning the ultimate trophy that they have been striving for - the chance to represent their country at the Olympic Games in Athens.
A win at Olympic Garda - Eurolymp and ninth place at the Star Europeans for Roy HEINER and Alex BREUSEKER (NED) has given them a boost of 26 places up the rankings to number 48.
The Star World Championship is the last event before the next ranking release and will take place in Italy from 23 April to 3 May. This is also the final Olympic Qualification Regatta with four places available.
The next issue of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings will be released on 6 May 2004 following Semaine Olympique Francaise in France and the Star World Championship in Italy.
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