The Spanish team proves to be more than ready for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, taking 3 podiums with two golds and a bronze: Diego Botín and Iago López topping the 49er, Canary Islands favourite Tara Pacheco and Catalan Florian Trittel leading in Nacra 17 and Tamara Echegoyen with Paula Barceló surprising with 49er FX bronze.
From the Canary Islands to Tokyo: Ireland has secured the Olympic berth in the 49er, Belgium in the women's 49er FX class and Finland the Nacra 17 Olympic ticket.
Lanzarote has had very tough conditions during the last day of racing, with lots of short but very big waves, with a high probability of capsizing the boats, as well as 14-16 knots with an easterly, southerly, easterly component. This Friday was the last qualifying race before the Medal Race for the gold groups of the men's 49er and the women's 49er FX, as well as the mixed group of the Nacra 17. This last regatta has been lived with intense emotion in the Lanzarote race courses, as they have finally put names to the places for the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020: Ireland (49er), Belgium (49er FX) and Finland (Nacra 17). However, it has been the entire Spanish team that has excelled in the pre-Olympics that have taken place in the Canary Islands, managing to celebrate in record time all the daily scheduled races, with perfect weather and sailing conditions according to the sailors, which they describe as "champagne conditions".
The islands have not only become the continental qualifier for Europe and Africa, but have also been the stage where over 100 competitors from more than 30 countries from all over the world have competed. But it has been the Spanish armada that has proved to be more than ready during the Canary Islands pre-Olympics to sweep Tokyo, with the Cantabrian Diego Botin and the Galician Iago Lopez crowning gold in the men's 49er and getting the best score of the competition, with more than 20 points difference with the Danes. Jonas Warrer and Jakob Precht won the silver for Denmark on the Lanzarote regatta course, while at the last moment, the Irish Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove not only got the Olympic pass, but also won the Medal Race and took the bronze from the English, with a difference of only 5 points.
Canary Islands dominate the flying catamaran in Lanzarote
Although the 49er class took the lead throughout the competition, the catamarans literally flew during the last qualifying race before moving on to the Medal Race. But it was the catamaran of Tara Pacheco and Florian Trittel that led the class throughout the competition; however, there was a brutal collision between the Spanish duo and the Swede that left both boats out of the race. They managed to get a repair, thanks to which they have managed to maintain first place and win gold in the Nacra 17 class. "We have left the regatta almost without starting, but we have had many races with different conditions throughout the week and we are very happy with the results", says Pacheco. In the Catalan sailor's words, they have led practically from the start, the conditions in Lanzarote are magnificent and "we have been getting stronger here in Lanzarote".
In this discipline, after years of fighting for a place, Finland secured their Olympic berth after the first qualification race before the Medal Race, a place they contested with the Greeks. "We have worked very hard for the last four years already, so we are very happy after securing the Olympic place before the Medal Race," said Sinem Kurtbay and Janne Jarvine. Germany took silver, while France took bronze.
From the Canary Islands to Tokyo: Belgium takes the 49er FX Olympic ticket
In the women's 49er FX, Brazil has led the field throughout the competition with Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze proving that they are the favourites Tokyo. But Spain's Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barceló also proved to be up to the task, managing to come from behind to take bronze at the last minute after suffering several off-lines that had pushed them back in the rankings. It was not until the Medal Race (where double points are awarded) that the Galician and Mallorcan sailors surprised the Danes, taking the bronze by just 1 point.
Brazil and Spain had already qualified for the Olympic Games, but the Belgians Isaura Maenhaut and Anouk Geurts have been measured with the Croatians and have finally achieved the place for Tokyo. "We are very excited and very happy, we have only just started sailing and this regatta has been the best we have done by far," exclaimed the Belgian sailors. The Netherlands won the silver medal in this category.