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9 May 2003, 05:04 pm
Latest Rankings Issued 8 May 2003
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Nathan Wilmotand Malcolm Page (AUS)

ISAF World Sailing Rankings

Following the completion of the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Francaise (Hyeres Week) last week, the latest ISAF World Sailing Rankings for Olympic Classes were issued yesterday 8 May 2003.
With the previous rankings issued on 5 February, there has been a good three month's of regattas, a total of 29 ISAF Graded Events included in this issue of the rankings.

Subsequently there is some significant movement in some of the events, compared to retained places in others.

The Northern Hemisphere Olympic circuit is now in full swing, with the focus this year leading towards the 2003 Athens Test Event 14-28 2003 and the second Olympic Qualification event for all Olympic Classes, the ISAF World Sailing Championship in Cadiz, Spain, 11-25 September 2003. Click Here to view the events included in the rankings for each class.

Sailboard Men (Mistral)

Nick Dempsey (GBR), has reclaimed the number one slot, which he had taken away from him by Gal Friedman (ISR) on the last rankings. Following some solid performances at the ISAF Grade 2 Athens Eurolymp and Princess Sofia Trophy. A disappointing ranking for team mate Dominic Tidey (GBR) who has dropped 5 places, from 3 to 8. Dempsey's rise, has seen Gal Friedman (ISR) and Ricardo Santos (BRA) drop down into 2 and 3 respectively on the World Rankings.

The one new entry into the world's top 10 is Jon-Paul Tobin (NZL). With a win at Hyeres, the only ISAF Grade 1 event of this ranking, together with a 4th at the ISAF Grade 2 Sail Auckland and 5th at the Princess Sofia Trophy, Tobin has jumped up 7 places from 16 to 9, ousting Nikos Kaklamanakis (GRE) down to 11 in the world.

The top 20 rankings are however dominated by the French, who lay claim to 7 of the top 20 places.

Four new entries into the world's top 100 go to, Chuanwei Gao (CHN) who jumps up to 77 from 114, Zhe Chen (CHN) up to 79 from 112, Gautier Zunquin (FRA) up to 87 from 101 and Aram Hong (KOR) up to 93 from 107.

Ten new entries into the overall World Rankings, sees 281 Mistral Men sailors on the Rankings.

Sailboard Women (Mistral)

A double-hit for the Brits, with Natasha Sturges (GBR) holding the corresponding top slot in the Mistral Women, for the second consecutive ranking. An excellent performance for this sailor who a year ago was ranked 12 in the world.

Sturges holds a 70 point lead over the chasing Synthia Gros (FRA), who herself has jumped up two places from 4 to be ranked second in the world. Close behind Gros is her team mate Faustine Merret (FRA) on a 22 point deficit. Merret has moved up from 5 to claim the world number 3 placing.

These two French sailors have knocked two Polish sailors off the top places, shifting Anna Gracyzk (POL) from 2 to 4 and Agata Brygoza (POL) from 3 to 6.

A domination by the Chinese windsurfers at the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Francaise (Hyeres), which saw their sailors take the top five places overall, has seen Jian Yin's win at Hyeres take her up to 31 to 37, to place as the top ranking Chinese sailor.

2000 Olympic Silver medallist, Amelie Lux (GER) has claimed her spot back in the world's top 10, after a solid fifth place result at the ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy. However, Lux's gain is to the loss of Sandrine Nuvolone (FRA) who drops from 9 to 14. Not that long ago, Lux was ranked number 2 in the world, and is no doubt intent on heading that way again.

The one new entry into the world's top 20 comes from Yasuko Kosuge (JPN) who improves from 21 to 12 after a sixth places at Hyeres. Kosuge has been making a steady climb up the rankings and enters the world's top 20 for only the second time in her career history.

Lots of shifting around in the upper end of the top 20, with the main casualty being Lisa Vidal (FRA) who has dropped from 12 to 20.

Elsewhere, Hong Kong's golden girl Lee Lai Shan must be a bit concerned as for the second successive ranking team mate Wai Kei Chan (HKG) places above her in the rankings. Having said that, prior to the ranking of 5 February and this ranking, Shan was ranked as the world's number 1 for eighteen months and etched in memory is her performance at the 1996 Olympic Regatta.

Single-Handed Dinghy Women (Europe)

Number 1 and number 2 remain the same in the Europe class with Sari Multala (FIN) remaining at number 1 where she has been since April 2002 and Carolijn Brouwer (NED) stays at number 2. Leaping into number 3 is 20 year old Siren Sundby (NOR) who climbs from 10 after her win at Semaine Olympique Française.

Another climber is current World Champion Sarah Blanck (AUS), who moves up a further ten places to enter the top 10 for the first time at number 9. Sarah Macky (NZL) returns to the top and makes her first appearance in the top 5 following a third place at Semaine Olympique Française.

Single-Handed Dinghy Open (Laser)

Great Britain can congratulate itself on having a third sailor leading a discipline, with Paul Goodison (GBR) holding the top slot for the eighth month.

With three ISAF Grade 1 events, the Laser US Midwinters won by Edward Wright (GBR), the, South American Laser Championship won by Matias Seguel (CHI) and Semaine Olympique Francaise won by Roope Suomalainen (FIN), nine Grade 2 events and seven Grade 3 events, there has been plenty of opportunity for a shift in places.

However, whilst there has been no change to those laying claim to being the world's top 10 Laser sailors, there has been movement in their positions, with only four sailors holding their position from the previous rankings. Behind Goodison, and with only a 42 point deficit sits Sweden's Daniel Birgmark, who is closely chased by team mate Karl Suneson (SWE). Behind the top three, placing 4 in the world is the renowned Robert Scheidt (BRA), who finds himself at his lowest place in the world rankings for more than 2 years.

Looking at the other sailors who have won ISAF Grade 1 events, which attract the highest level of competition, Roope Suomalainen's (FIN) win at Hyeres, whilst not improving his position from the previous rankings, has kept him steady at 10 in the world. However, Sumoalainen will need to improve his results to return to the world ranking of 3 that he held a year ago.

Congratulations to Matias Seguel (CHI) whose win at the ISAF Grade 1 South American Laser Championship has propelled him up 154 places to sit at 223 on the rankings from 377. Seguel first entered the World Sailing Rankings on the previous release of 5 February 2003, after his 30 placing at the ISAF Grade 1 Miami OCR which saw him enter the rankings at 377 (864 sailors on the Laser Rankings). Whilst Seguel is still some way behind the top Chilean sailor Matias del Solgar Goldsmith who is ranked at 84, Seguel could be one to watch. As yet Chile has not qualified for the single-handed dinghy open event at the 2004 Olympics, but with two more qualification opportunities, watch this space.

The most improved ranking position comes from Michael Blackburn (AUS), who has applied his return to international competition with some stunning results, including a win at Sail Auckland, which see him place at 39 in the world up from 178. Towards the end of last year, Blackburn was languishing at 342 in the world after a period of absence, but is now back and clearly making his mark.

Only one new entry into the world's top 20, from Marc de Haas (NED), up two places from 21 to 19.

Double Handed Dinghy Women (470)

There's no change for the top 4 of the Women's 470 rankings with Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE) holding on to the top spot ahead of reigning Gold medallist Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell (AUS) at number 2.

Moving up one place to number 5 is Natalia via Dufresne and Sandra Azon (ESP), helped no doubt by a third place at Hyéres.

Three new teams have entered the top 20 including Katie McDowell and Isabelle Kinsolving (USA) who will represent the USA at the 2003 Athens Test Event and move up 9 places to number 15. The other two new entries are both British pairings who join Christine Bassadone and Christine Hobson (GBR) who have climbed three places to number 14. Josie Gibson and Saskia Clark climb from 22 to 18, and Helena Lucas and Jenny Heeley climb from 23 to 20 - another great selection battle shaping up for Athens 2004!

Other high climbers include Vesna Dekleva and Klara Maucec (SLO) who rise 12 places to number 29, after an impressive fourth place in Hyéres and sixth at Princess Sofia, and Erin Maxwell and Jen Morgan (USA) who move up 13 places and enter the top 40 at 37.

Double Handed Dinghy Men (470)

There is a similar picture at the top of the Men's 470 rankings with no change to the top 4 leaving Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page (AUS) at the top, where they have been since winning the 2002 World Championship.

This is partly due to there being only one ISAF Grade 1 event, Semaine Olympique Française, which of course carries the maximum points towards a skipper's ranking, during the period.

However, results from a plethora of Grade 2 events, five in total, is what has shaken the positions lower down the rankings from places 10 through to 20. Interestingly, not one crew has dominated the Grade 2 events, with a different crew winning each time. One of the most consistent pairings is French brothers Benjamin and Rommai Bonnaud who competed in 3 of the 5 Grade 2 events, placing a sixth, a first and a second. These results have converted into a move up the rankings to 5 from 6, to give them their highest ever position on the World Rankings and emphasise their position as the highest placed French crew.

Johan Molund and Martin Andersson (SWE), who won Hyeres, have seen their position improve up to 8 from 10. This duo has an impressive track record, having won SPA Regatta in 2001 and 2002 and the 2002 Athens Test Event. However, on past performance they are never able to repeat such results at the 470 Worlds. Not yet qualified for the 2004 Olympic Regatta, this duo will want to secure Sweden's selection at the forthcoming ISAF World Sailing Championship, Cadiz, where thirteen country slots are up for contention. In doing so, they will no doubt secure their place to represent Sweden in Athens as currently they are the only Swedish 470 crew on the World Sailing Rankings. Molund placed 12 at the 2000 Olympic Regatta, with previous crew Mattias Rahm.

No new entries in the top 20 this time. The hardest fallers are amongst the top 10, with Gustavo Martinez-Foreste and Dimas Wood (ESP) who slide from 5 to 11= and Gabrino Zandonia and Andrea Trani (ITA) who go down from 7 to 13=.

High Performance Dinghy Open (49er)

There has only been slight jostling for position in the top 10 of the 49er rankings and the top 2 remain the same. Current World Champions and 2002 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominees, Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez (ESP) have sailed consistently this season, taking first at Athens Eurolymp, second at Princess Sofia Regatta and third in Hyéres to name just three of their achievements, and remain at the number 1 spot. Only 112 points behind at number 2 is the Ukrainean team and winners at Hyéres, Rodion Luka and George Leonchuck. Moving one place up to number 3 is Paul Brotherton and Mark Asquith (GBR) fresh from their second place at Hyéres.

The only new entry to the top 10 are Cristoffer Sundby and Frode Bovim (NOR) who move up to 9 from 14. Climbing an impressive seventeen places to number 22 is Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR) who continue their ascent after entering the rankings at 88 in April 2002.

There are two new entries to the top 20 at number 19 and 20. Quentin and Lionel Blondiau (BEL) move up three places to number 19 and Andy Mack and Adam Lowry (USA) move up one to number 20.

Single Handed Dinghy Men (Finn)

It's all change at the top of the Finn Rankings. Congratulations to Karlo Kuret (CRO), who finally makes it to the top spot after steadily rising from number 4 since October 2001! Kuret took first place at 2003 Olympic Garda and finished third in Hyéres to place a career best at number 1.

Moving back up to number 2 is Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL) and dropping two places to number 3 is Emilios Papathanasiou (GRE).

Big mover is Ben Ainslie (GBR), a relative newcomer to the Finn but a formidable force since he began competing in the class, who climbs another 10 places up to number 5 behind fellow Brit Andrew Simpson who remains at number 4. Another big mover is Michael Maier (CZE) but instead of going up he goes down. Down from number 8 to number 20. Also taking a dive is Britain's Chris Brittle who slides down out of the top 20 from number 7, to number 21.

Three new entries to the top 20 begin with Australian Anthony Nossiter who climbs from 26 to 17, Marin Misura (CRO) who moves from 33 to 18 and Nenad Viali (CRO) who moves up six to number 19. However, by number of sailors in the top 20, on equal pegging with three sailors apiece are Croatia and Great Britain - clearly campainging hard.

The biggest climb comes from Joao Signorini (BRA) who moves up 21 places to number 33 after sailing consistently to finish thirteenth at each of the Princess Sofia and Hyéres and sixth at Barcelona Sailing Week.

Multihull Open (Tornado)

Roman Hagara and Hans-Peter Steinacher's (AUT) stay at the top, after toppling Darren Bundock and John Forbes (AUS) in February, was shortlived and they drop down to number 4.

Taking over the number 1 spot are Olivier Backs and Laurent Voiron (FRA) who finished second in Hyéres and move up from number 5 to achieve their personal best. Moving into 2 from 6 is Xavier Revil and Laurent Guillemette to make it a French 1 - 2.

Staying put at number 3 are Mitch Booth and Herbert Dercksen (NED), after taking first in Hyéres and a third at Princess Sofia. A new entry to the top five at number 5 is Martin Strandberg and Kristian Mattson (SWE) who move up seven places from number 12. Despite finishing first at the Princess Sofia and second at Barcelona Sailing Week, Darren Bundock (AUS) slides eight places to number 10.

There are four new entries to the top 20 but particular mention should be made of Sandro Montefusco and Stefano Rizzi (ITA) who climb a whopping 34 points from 74 to 40. Montefusco's ranking history makes interesting reading as he hovered around 130 for much of 1996 and 1997 and then did not figure at all until making a reappearance at number 85 in October 2002. Montefusco's recent results include second at the ISAF Grade 3 Olympic Garda 2003, eighth at Athens Eurolymp, 12 at the Princess Sofia Trophy and 13 at Hyéres. A team to watch over the coming months!

Keelboat Women (Yngling)

This class, making its Olympic debut in Athens in 2004, has seen fantastic changes within the rankings since they began in July 2001. As the crews really begin to assert themselves on this class, leading up to the second Olympic Qualification regatta in Cadiz, significant changes will continue.

For the first time since July 2002, Monica Azon (ESP) has lost her number 1 position. Betsy Alison (USA) has moved up one place to number 1 and Ulrike Schuemann (GER) has also moved up one to number 2, pushing Azon back down to number 3.

Making a perhaps significant move back up the rankings is Melanie Dennison who had dominated the class from July 2001 when the rankings began until she was toppled by Monica Azon in July 2002. Dennison moves up to number 4. Another climber is Dorte Jensen (DEN), three times ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion, who moves up seven places to number 7. Jensen finished second at the Princess Sofia and in Hyeres.

Two teams make their debut in the top 20. Anna Basalkina (RUS) moves up from number 24 to number 15 and Katrina Giakouridou (GRE) from 23 to 19. The Yngling also sees a new entrant to the Rankings with Eva Rios Rioya (ESP) enter at number 42 after posting a 14 at Hyéres and seventh at Barcelona Sailing Week.

Keelboat Open (Star)

Another shortlived stay at the top in the Star Rankings as current World Champions Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell (GBR) slip 3 places down to number 4. Replacing them at the top is Xavier Rohart and Yannick Adde (FRA) who have consistently finished in the top 10 so far this season. Moving back up to number 2 is Mark Reynolds and Magnus Liljedahl (USA) whose position has fluctuated between 1 and 3 since May 2000.

Into number 3 goes Frederik Loof and Anders Ekstrom (SWE) who move up 4 places from number 7. 2001 Star World Champion and two time European Champion, Loof is back on championship winning form and took the title at Princess Sofia to boost his rankings. Another steady climber pairing are Niklas David Holm and Martin Leifelt (DEN) who enter the top ten for the first time after moving up to number 8 from 14.

The biggest mover into the top 20 is Marko Dahlberg and Ville Kurki (FIN) who climb six from 26 and into the top 40 go Iain Murray and Andrew Palfrey (AUS) with a fifth place at Princess Sofia to help boost them up to 35 from 47.

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ISAF welcomes reproduction of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings for Olympic Classes, with due credit to ISAF.

The next release of the ISAF World Sailing Rankings for Olympic Classes will be on 30 May 2003 after SPA Regatta.

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