The 470 World Championships get underway in Melbourne, Australia next week, offering the final chance for Olympic qualification.
After almost four years campaigning in the XXIX Olympiad, the stars of the 470 world will measure their strength at their last World Championships prior to the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, taking place in Qingdao this August. The World Championships in the International 470 class, the equipment for both the men's and women's two person dinghy events at the Olympic Sailing Competition, will take place from 21-30 January on Port Phillip Bay near Melbourne, Australia.
Reigning World Champions Nathan WILMOT
and Malcolm PAGE
from Australia (470 Men) and Marcelien DE KONING
and Lobke BERKHOUT
from the Netherlands (470 Women) will both be aiming to win their fourth 470 World title.
During the last few years, many different nations and continents have been represented on the podium at 470 championships and major events. With their proven ability to win races, they will push the Australian and Dutch crews to their limit.
The 470 Worlds visits its fourth continent in as many years in 2008, with previous championships held in the USA in 2005, China in 2006 and Portugal last year. An impressive 153 entries from 38 nations line up in Melbourne.
Besides the challenge for the World title, this event will decide on the remaining 25% of national qualification for the Olympic Sailing Competition. In Qingdao, 29 men's crews and 19 women's crews will line up in their respective events. At the ISAF Sailing World Championships
last year in Cascais, Portugal, 22 countries have already qualified in the 470 Men and 14 in the 470 Women. This leaves seven remaining Olympic places in the men's 470 fleet, and there are 15 nations in Australia to contest these places. In the women's fleet it's even tighter, with 17 nations battling for just five remaining Olympic slots.
470 World Championships - www.sailmelbourne.com.au/event/470worldchampionships2008