After five days in the OptiEuropeans 2004 in Sweden with exciting sailing in changing winds and weather, everything from hot, sunny days with light breezes to almost gale force winds, wet and bumpy seas, the winners are finally on the podium.
Wojciech ZEMKE, Poland, is the 2004 Optimist European champion. After twelve completed races and a fight for life between him and the Swedish favourite Nicklas DACKHAMMAR. Both of them had a much tougher race on Friday in the strong winds. As best for Zemke a third place in the eleventh race and for Dackhammar, 16 in the tenth race.
Third overall was Alexander ZIMMERMANN (PER) but since he competes from outside of Europe, Greek sailor Alexius KATSIOS will be the bearer of the European championship bronze medal, fourth in the open championship.
Greece took the championship for the girls and Katerina KOUTSOUGERA is the new European champion. "I'm so happy, even double happiness today when my home country opens the Olympic Games in Athens."
Katerina KOUTSOUGERA is15 years old, from Evia, 250 km from Athens. She´s been sailing since she was ten and trains in Pireus every weekend. This was Katerinas second European Championship, she was 16 in Croatia last year and plans to move on to 420 next season. "It has been a difficult regatta with both light and strong winds, since I weigh 50 kg I preferred the weather today."
Second was the favourite Afrodite KIRANAKOU, also from Greece. Afrodite was in fifth place in the last race when she broke the mainsheet. Greece took all the podium places in the girls event with the bronze medal going to Ermina BATSI-GEROGAKAPOULOU.