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2 July 2008, 12:00 pm
ISAF World Sailing Rankings - 2 July 2008
The Australian 49er in action at Kiel Week
Australia lead the way in the latest release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings

ISAF World Sailing Rankings

Australia reclaims the lead in the national standings and Japan gain the Women's 470 world #1 spot in the final release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings before the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.
Beijing beckons with the Games of the XXIX Olympiad just over a month away and it's the Australians who are leading the charge to Qingdao and the Yellow Sea, where the 2008 Olympic Competition will take place. In the ISAF World Sailing Rankings released on 2 July, the final World Ranking release before the Olympic Games, Australia reclaims the lead of the national standings from Spain with crews occupying three world #1 spots and one #3 spot across the 11 Olympic events. Spain, Poland and Great Britain also count four crews in top-three positions and ahead of the Games in China there is a timely boost for the Asian sailing nations.

Chart showing nations with top-three Ranked sailors

Two New Leaders

Across the 11 Ranking lists there are two new crews occupying world #1 positions. Japan's Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA are the new leaders of the Women's 470 Rankings following their win at Kiel Week - their second ISAF Grade 1 event win of the year. KONDO and KAMATA missed out on Japanese 470 slot at the Athens Olympic Games to Yuka YOSHISAKO and Mitsuko SATAKE, but since returning to the 470 in 2006 have been one of the most improved teams on the ISAF Graded circuit. They become only the second Japanese crew to ever hold a world #1 Ranking following in the footsteps of Yumiko SHIGE and Alicia KINOSHTIA (JPN) who hit the top of the Women's 470 Rankings in 1995, a year before winning the silver medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

KONDO and KAMATA will be appearing at their first Olympic Sailing Competition in Qingdao this August. In contrast, the other new World Ranking leaders this month are not only experienced Olympians but also the gold medal winners at Athens 2004. The Spanish 49er team of Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ appear to have timed their return to form to perfection and hit the top spot in the World Rankings for the first time in over five years. Like KONDO and KAMATA, the Spaniards will head to Qingdao on a high after securing victory at Kiel.

Aside from the two new crews in the #1 spots, one of the biggest moves in this Ranking release comes from China's Lijia XU who climbs up three places to sit at #2 in the Laser Radial World Rankings. In her short career XU has already amassed an impressive series of achievements, winning China's first-ever medal at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship in 2005 and following that up a year later by becoming the first Chinese sailor to win a World Championship in one of the events of the Olympic Sailing Competition. At this year's Worlds she narrowly missed out on a second gold medal after being disqualified in the final race. Since then, consistent performances in Europe have put her at the forefront of the Chinese challenge for success on their home waters this August.

Reading the Rankings

Spain and Japan can both celebrate new world #1 spots, but the big winner in this Ranking release is the Australian Sailing Team, whose top performers shone once again during June. World #1 in the Laser Rankings, Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) scored dominant victory at Kiel, whilst Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS), leaders of the Men's 470 Rankings, finished on top of a very strong fleet at the 470 Europeans. Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) hold the other Australian world #1 spot in the Tornado fleet, although their run of seven consecutive ISAF Graded event wins came to an end with a fourth-place finish at the Tornado Europeans in Greece.

Chart showing comparison between World Rankings and Olympic Medal Table in 2004

The Australian team will undoubtedly go to Qingdao on a high, but how much can be read into their success in the World Rankings? The chart above compares the leading nations in the final ISAF World Sailing Rankings before the Athens Olympic Games to the 2004 Olympic Games Medal Table. The example of Australia four years ago goes to prove that Ranking success can easily come to nothing at the Games, although Great Britain's performance in both Rankings and Games provides a counterpoint. Of the 33 medals presented in Athens, over two-thirds of them went to nations who had enjoyed top-three success on the Rankings leading up to the Games. Of the eight nations who won medals at Athens but did not feature top-three Ranked sailors going into the Games, only one, the hosts Greece, managed to win more than one medal.

Looking in more detail at the 2004 Olympic Champions, seven of the 11 gold medals, went to nations who had a sailor in the world #1 spot. Amongst the 11 gold medal winning crews, four held the world #1 spot going into the Games, and equally, only four of the 11 world #1 Ranked crews missed out on a medal in Athens (interestingly, all four of these crews will be competing in the same events in Beijing).

World Ranking Leaders - 2 July 2008

Heavyweight Dinghy - Finn
Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN)

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA)

Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser
Tom SLINGSBY (AUS)

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470
Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS)

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470
Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA (JPN)

Skiff - 49er
Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ (ESP)

Men's Keelboat - Star
Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ and Dominik ZYCKI (POL)

Women's Keelboat - Yngling
Sarah AYTON, Sarah WEBB and Pippa WILSON (GBR)

Multihull - Tornado
Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS)

Men's Windsurfer - RS:X
Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL)

Women's Windsurfer - RS:X
Marina ALABAU (ESP)

The next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings will next be on 3 September 2008, including results from the ISAF Grade W Olympic Sailing Competition.

Visit the ISAF World Sailing Rankings homepage at www.sailing.org/rankings for more on the latest Ranking release.

New Events Included

Results from the following events have been newly included in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings since their last release on 28 May 2008.

Class Event (Grade)
Tornado Tornado European Championships (C1)
Star Star Eastern Hemisphere Championship (C1); Star European Championship (1); Kiel Week (1)
Laser Singapore Laser Trophy (2); Laser Europa Cup - Denmark (3); Kiel Week (1); Laser Europa Cup - Austria (3)
Finn Kiel Week (1)
Laser Radial Singapore Laser Trophy (2); Kiel Week (1); Laser Europa Cup-Austria (3)
49er Kiel Week (1)
470 men & women 470 European Championships (C1); Kiel Week (1)
M-RSX & W-RSX Kiel Week (1)
Yngling -

Graded events which have not been included are listed below.

Event Classes not included: Reason:
Jeux des IIes COJI Laser (3) Could not obtain results
Laser Europa Cup - Denmark W-Laser (3) Not enough entrants
Finn Pacific Coast Championship Finn (3) Not eligible to enter as only one nationality
Tomis Trophy W-Laser (3); M-470 (3); W-470 (3) Could not obtain results
Al Bareh International Regatta Laser (3) Could not obtain results
Waves Week 49er (3) No Racing
Waves Week Star (3) Not enough entrants
Waves Week Laser (3) Not eligible to enter as only one nationality
Waves Week W-Laser (3) Not eligible to enter
Corbeta Patagon M-470 (3); W-470 (3); Finn (3); Laser (3) Could not obtain results
Kiel Week W-Yngling (1); Tornado (1) No Racing

ISAF World Sailing Rankings - www.sailing.org/rankings

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