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2 September 2003, 03:03 pm
Runners and Riders - 470
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Simon Cooke and Peter Nicholas

2003 ISAF World Championship
Bay of Cadiz

This year, the world's most respected and best Olympic classes sailors will be gathering in and around the nautical city of Cadiz in Spain for the largest World Championship ever held in the history of our sport.
Split between three venues, Puerto Sherry, Elcano and Rota, over 1800 sailors from more than 50 countries will battle it out for not only the prestigious title of world champion, but also to secure qualification for their country at the 2004 Olympic Regatta.

With all eleven of the Olympic events racing over a two week period, the list of entries reads like a who's who of sailing superstars. Young, up and coming athletes, many of whom have recently competed at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Madeira, Portugal, will compete against experienced Olympians. Sailors for whom the passion of the Olympic classes fails to leave them.

Entry qualification quotas for this prestigious World Championship were by the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, which were released on 2 July 2003 and each ISAF Member National Authority received a guaranteed two entries, with a further four available depending on how many sailors a particular nation had in the top 100 in the world.

Because of the magnitude of this event, and the desire to make it the pinnacle of World Sailing for 2003, entry numbers were strictly limited to ensure manageable fleet sizes, and the highest possible quality of racing, important for both the athletes competing, spectators, and the sport of sailing as a whole.

In each of the eleven World Championship fleets, it is the second opportunity for nations to qualify for an entry to the Olympic regatta in Athens in 2004. The first was each class' individual World Championship last year, and the final opportunity will be the Class World Championships in 2004.

So, the entries are now closed, confirmed and athletes and nations are making their final preparations for the Championship. But what of the sailors themselves, who are the likely front running candidates for individual World Championship titles, and who will win the coveted IOC President's Cup for the top performing nation, currently held by Australia, who won the trophy at the last combined Worlds prior to the Olympic Games in Sydney 2000.

The number of nations competing in Cadiz exceeds any previous Olympic entry. Back in 2000, Iceland, Morocco, Peru and Sri Lanka made their first every foray into the arena of the Olympic Regatta, countries which now regularly have sailors competing on the Olympic circuit. Whilst 2003 will certainly welcome some new nations, we will wait and see which will make their debut appearance at the Olympic Games come 2004.

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Double-handed Dinghy Men - 470

Last year's World Champions Simon COOKE and Peter NICHOLAS (NZL) will return once again to defend the title they won in style in Cagliari, Sardinia. The pressure upon them is not as high this year as they have already qualified their nation for the Olympic Regatta, although, according to the New Zealand selection policy, if they are in the top five of the event, and no other New Zealand Sailor is in the top ten, they will automatically be selected to represent New Zealand at the Olympic Games.

Pushing these two hard will be Andreas KOSMATOPOLOUS and Kostas TRIGONIS (GRE), whose second place at last year's World Championship set them well on their way to the envious spot of leading the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. They are veterans in the 470 and can handle the magnitude of the event. As Greece automatically qualify for an entry at the 2004 Olympic Regatta, they are not under pressure to satisfy the nation qualification criteria and will be sailing to assert their position as the best in the World.

They are joined as veterans in the class by Americans Paul FORESTER and Kevin BURNHAM, who started this year sailing with a fantastic desire to achieve in their return to the class.

Johan MOLUND and Martin ANDERSSON (SWE) have maintained a consistent form this year after winning the Athens Regatta in 2002. They finished an average fifteenth at last year's World Championship but since then have rebuilt their campaign, and their ranking position, to climb to fourth in the current ISAF World Sailing Rankings.

Will the potential winner come from these sailors? Coming from the background of both a 470 and a current America's Cup Campaign for the French K-Challenge syndicate, Nicholas CHARBONNIER won the title of 470 Junior European Champions in 2001 and now resides firmly in the top twenty in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings.

Meanwhile, fresh from helping Australia win the Nation's Cup with a resounding victory in the Double-handed Boys discipline at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Madeira, Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ayden MENZIES (AUS), who have been giving fellow Australians Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE, the world's number 2, a run for their money, may well feature among the leaders in Cadiz, as indeed will Wilmot and Page.

After a double-success in Sydney, claiming both men's and women's double-handed events, the Australians will be wanting to demonstrate their continued prowess from an early stage. Interestingly, the crew of the men's double-handed gold medallists from Sydney, Mark TUNRBULL can be found campaigning in the 49er, but whether success will be as fruitful remains to be seen.

Sydney Bronze Medallists, Javier CONTE and Juan de la FUENTE (ARG) have kept their form since Sydney, and with a world ranking of 9, are another force to be reckoned with. No major wins for the pairing so far this season, but some good solid top 10 results, have kept them amongst the world's best.

Another pair recently returned to form are the fourth place finishers at the Sydney Olympic Games, Nick ROGERS and Joe GLANDFIELD (GBR). After a self confessed disappointing result at the 470 Europeans, the pair swept to a well fought second place at this year's Athens Regatta, and look to be getting stronger and stronger as the year progresses. For Team GBR, the ISAF World Championship is a selection regatta, so the next two weeks could well see Nick and Joe selected to represent their country.

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Nick Rogers and Joe Glandfield in Athens © Peter Bentley

Nations Already Qualified for the 2004 Olympic Regatta from results at the 2002 470 Class World Championship:

New Zealand (NZL), Spain (ESP), Israel (ISR), Australia (AUS), United States of America (USA), Portugal (POR), Great Britain (GBR), Italy (ITA), Japan (JPN), Argentina (ARG).

At this event there are 13 entry slots available for nations to qualify at this World Championship in the 470

Double-handed Dinghy Women - 470

2002 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year winners, Emilia TSOULFA and Sofia BEKATOROU (GRE), are the current defending World Champions and will be odds on favourite to repeat their triumph from last year. They were dominant in 2002 but have struggled for form more recently and could only manage a 15 at the recently held European Championship in Brest, France. This led to a bounce back and in true form, the pair won the Athens Regatta 2003 on their own doorstep to prove they are in form when it matters.

Winners of that regatta, and recently ranked number one in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, Natalia Via DUFRESNE and Sandra AZON (ESP) are the rising stars. A sixth place at the Sydney Olympics gave them sustained confidence as the top Spanish crew and they have gone from strength to strength. This pair will continue to push hard for a World Championship win this year.

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Natalia Via Dufresne and Sandra Azon

As ever, the southern hemisphere produces some of the best 470 sailors in the world and Sydney 2000 Gold medallists, Jenny ARMSTRONG and Belinda STOWELL will again be well in the fray for Australia in Cadiz. As Olympic medallists they will be super keen to add a World Championship title to their quiver of achievements. Perhaps the biggest challenge may come from Stefanie ROTHWEILER and Monica LEU (GER), having hovered in and around the top five in the rankings since February 2002, they have yet to finish in the top three of a World or Continental Championship. Nevertheless, on recent form, which has seen them score third at the SPA regatta in Medemblik, and winning this year's Barcelona Olympic sailing Week, could see the young helm causing a stir in the Olympic camp.

Whilst the 470 has been in the Olympic Regatta since 1976, the women's event made its first appearance in 1988. Cathy FOSTER (GBR) made Olympic history at the 1984 Olympic Regatta, by becoming the first woman to win a race in an open event in the 470 Class. Roll forwards almost 20 years, and Cathy can be found in the women's keelboat fleet, campaigning an Yngling keelboat, and with a recently delivered boat will be hoping to achieve even greater results in Cadiz.

Meriting special mention are the Danish pairing of sisters, Susanne and Michaela WARD, one of the crews with the most experience, having participated in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Regattas, placing 12, 6 and 10 respectively. Currently ranked 33 in the world and with some consistent results this year, this pairing should be watched.

Nations Already Qualified for the 2004 Olympic Regatta from results at the 2002 470 Class World Championship:

Netherlands (NED), France (FRA), Russia (RUS), Germany (GER), Spain (ESP), Israel (ISR).

The women's fleet have eighth slots for Athens open to them at this World Championship.

Tomorrow, ISAF will bring you another installment of Runners and Riders, this time featuring the Single-handed Dinghy Open Discipline, the Laser class.
ISAF News Editor
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