Exactly two years or 729 days to the Olympic Games, ATHENS 2004 - is about to host the first pre-Olympic Test Event: the "Athens 2002 Regatta" at the Agios Kosmas Olympic Sailing Centre.
The practice races for the different classes are scheduled for tomorrow, while the Test Event itself will begin on Friday 16, with seven competitions in five Olympic classes: Europe, Laser, Mistral (Men's and Women's), 470 (Men's and Women's), and Yngling. Four wet tracks will be in use for the purposes of the pre-Olympic test events.
Participation is high and includes many distinguished athletes who are here to familiarize themselves with the wind and local currents, so that they can be prepared for the 2004 Olympic Sailing competition.
Registration ends at 18:00 today. As of this morning, 269 of the 358 boats and 417 of the 551 athletes scheduled to compete had registered.
In total, 43 countries will be represented at the Regatta, sixteen of which will compete in all classes.
Greek and foreign athletes spoke of the importance of the event and their eagerness to participate. Nikos Kaklamanakis, Mistral Olympic gold medallist in the Atlanta 1996 Olympics stated the following: "I'll have a go at all the races to see what kind of shape I'm in. Then the next target is the European championships in Austria at the start of September".
Greece's leading sailors in the 470 (Women's), Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia Tsulfa had their eye on on competitors who had raced in the recent European Championships and would be racing in the World Championships in Italy in a few days' time. "That will make Agios Kosmas a really big one for us", they said. "When we race, we always aim to come first".
Racing in the 470 (Men's) will be Andreas Kosmatopoulos and Kostas Trigonis who stated:"All the foreign competitors were full of admiration for the venue when they saw it", they said. "Our own experience leads us to the same conclusion. We want to distinguish ourselves here, and in the World Championships which follow".