<b>UPDATED: </B>After thirteen days of racing, the 2003 ISAF World Championship drew to a close on Wednesday 24 September with the final Medal Ceremonies and playing of the anthems of Andalucia and Spain.
The depth of talent across the sport was best epitomised by the spread of nations claming the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, 20 representing four continents, but with a definite European domination.
In being awarded the "President of the IOC Cup", Great Britain was honoured with the accolade of the top performing nation, a deserved repeat of their performance at the Olympic Regatta, in which they also claimed five medals.
With 11 events, 9 different classes, 13 days of racing and 47 races the Bay of Cadiz has witnessed one of the greatest sailing spectacles. Never before has a World Championship of this magnitude, bringing the world's elite sailors to one central venue for a combined World Championship and Olympic Qualification series, taken place. One thing is certain, that the 2003 ISAF World Championship has marked a turning point for the sport, and this event will return in four years' time, and every two years thereafter if the sailors have their way.
As commented by Paul HENDERSON, "This Championship has been an eye-opener for the sailors. It is what top sailing is all about, bringing the world's best to one Championship to compete in the Olympic events."
The sailors taking part at the 2003 ISAF World Championship in Cadiz, Spain have each had different objectives. There has been the desire to win and claim a podium place. For those whose nation is not yet qualified for Athens 2004, it will have also been the wish that their result from the Championship would be good enough to qualify their country for an Olympic Qualification slot. For others, it has been a matter of national selection, and whether or not their country has yet qualified, they have known that their performance in Cadiz could either open, close or push ajar the door that would welcome them to the greatest sporting spectacle, the Olympic Games.
Wishes have been fulfilled over the past two weeks, and dreams have been shattered. That is the nature of sport at the elite level. But unlike any recent World Championships that many of the sailors can remember, the wind has done its best complemented by the waters of the Bay of Cadiz to provide the sailors with some of the most fantastic and testing sailing conditions in which to show off the sport to the world.
Speaking yesterday afternoon, shortly before the final Medal Ceremony, Paul HENDERSON concluded, " I think this Championship has been an overwhelming success. It is interesting that having experienced this World Championship, many of the sailors now want this to take place every two years, rather than four. They can all recognise the significance and momentum this Championship gives the sport, both in elevating the game and in putting the sport on the world stage. Individual Class World Championships can get lost amongst all the other sporting events taking place, but here we have seen exposure for the sport like never before. All the sailors have enjoyed the interaction with the other classes. The challenge now is to meet ISAF's requirements and create a 2007 ISAF World Championship which can be run at the same level and same intensity as the sailors give to the sport.
I have personally met with about six or seven delegations who are interested in running the 2007 Championship, which is an excellent complement to the Organising Committee of this Championship.
The support of Cadiz, Andalusia and Spain have been instrumental for the future of the sport. ISAF stuck its neck out to create this Championship, and no-one can deny that it has been a turning point for the sport."
The International Sailing Federation thanks the Organising Committee, the Diputacion of Cadiz, Deporte Andaluz, the Race Officials and Race Committee, the volunteers and all who have supported and contributed to the success of the inaugural 2003 ISAF World Championship.
A special thank you to the classes and sailors who have shown by their feedback that the 2003 ISAF World Championship has been a huge success and for the fantastic sport of sailing which you have shown to the world on the Bay of Cadiz.
The ISAF and Championship websites have brought you the daily reports. To access the round up of each event, including images and results, click on the links below:
Single-handed Women - Europe
Single-handed Dinghy Men - Finn
Single-handed Dinghy Open - Laser
Double-handed Dinghy Men - 470
Double-handed Dinghy Women- 470
Double-handed Dinghy Open - 49er
Windsurfer Men - Mistral One Design
Windsurfer Women - Mistral One Design
Multihull Open - Tornado
Keelboat Men - Star
Keelboat Women - Yngling
Overall Medal Tally
Nations Qualified for the 2004 Olympic Regatta