Olympic sailing gold medallist Paul GOODISON of Great Britain staked a confident claim ahead of this month's Laser World Championship by clinching his fifth straight European title in Sweden on Saturday.
The 31-year-old Paul GOODISON
(GBR) notched up a convincing win after six days racing in Landskrona, Sweden, bouncing back from a disappointing opening day where he was disqualified for a premature start in race one, to claim overall victory. Tom SLINGSBY
(AUS), the winner of the past two Europeans, took second place overall. It's the best result this year for the young Australian who endured a nightmare Olympic Games after going to Qingdao as favourite for Laser gold. Although he never really got within touching distance of GOODISON this week, second overall is an encouraging results, especially with the Worlds - where SLINGSBY will be aiming for a third consecutive title - just around the corner. Completing the podium was Javier HERNANDEZ
of Spain in third. Young star Pavlos KONTIDES
of Cyprus, 2007 and 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion
, came in fourth overall and third in the European-only rankings.
The sun was shining on the sailors for the fifth day in a row for the final day of racing on Saturday, with the wind coming from south, 4 to 5 knots in average and with a 40° windshift and decreasing wind at the end. The second race was cancelled when the wind died completely and the thunder was rumbling in the background.
GOODISON kept his first place despite a 20 in Saturday's race, which he discarded. His series started with a BFD, but with three firsts, two seconds and a third he won 2009 Laser Europeans Championship with a points total 22.
"I was pretty annoyed after the first day here when I was black flagged in the first race and then dropped from fourth to eighth in the second race,"
said GOODISON of his performance this week. "I gave myself a kick up the backside and refocused and managed to sail pretty well for the rest of the week to get a good lead heading into the last day today."
"I didn't sail particularly well today I did enough to keep off the Croatian and the Cypriot who were the only ones who could beat me, so I'm pretty chuffed and it's great to be European Champion again."
Second in the Trophy, 21 points after GOODISON, came SLINGSBY, with a third place in Saturday's race helping him up from third to second overall with a total of 43 points. The result is the opposite to last year's Trophy when SLINGSBY was first and GOODISON second. Interesting results on the eve of the Worlds in Halifax, Canada.
Looking ahead to Canada, GOODISON the clearly the man to beat. The Skandia Team GBR sailor is now unbeaten on the international circuit since taking gold at the Beijing Olympic Games a year ago, winning his comeback event at the French leg of the ISAF Sailing World Cup
in April, before adding further World Cup titles to his belt in The Netherlands and Kiel in May and June prior to his latest European success.
"I was surprised at how early after coming back after my break after the Games that I started getting back to winning again,"
GOODISON explained, "and when you're sailing well that obviously helps with the confidence."
GOODISON has a quick turnaround in the Great Britain before heading out to Canada early next week in preparation for the World Championship, where he's hopeful his form will continue.
"Since coming back from the Games, the Worlds has been the one win I've really wanted and the whole year has been geared towards preparing for that," he explained.
"Although I can't go there thinking that the title's mine, I'm pretty happy with the way I'm sailing so there's no reason not to be confident of doing well there."
Results - click here