Dynamic Aussie duo extend golden spell as ISAF World Cup Final concludes in Abu Dhabi

Dynamic Aussie duo extend golden spell as ISAF World Cup Final concludes in Abu Dhabi

01.11.2015: Photo caption: Australia’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan celebrate World Cup gold in the Men’s 470

Photo caption:  Australia’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan celebrate World Cup gold in the Men’s 470

Belcher, Ryan reign supreme in two-man dinghy; British pair natch gold from defending champions

Australia’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan led the gold rush as the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Final reached its conclusion in Abu Dhabi today, adding another chapter to one of the sport’s biggest success stories.

The defending champions underlined their dominance of two-man dinghy Olympic class sailing by winning the medal race to score a comprehensive second successive Men’s 470 World Cup triumph at Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club.

On this occasion, Belcher and Ryan got home by just a second from the young Spanish pairing of Jordi Xammar and Joan Herp to finish 11 pts ahead of Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström who were 3rd on the last day of the regatta, sponsored by ADS Securities and Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority

The result underlines the Aussies’ position as firm favourites to strike gold at next year’s Olympics Games in Rio de Janeiro and adds to Belcher’s haul of six world titles, three won in tandem with Ryan.

It also added to the reputation of their Ukrainian-born coach, Victor Kovalenko, known as “The Medal Maker,” who has guided the winners of nine Olympic medals - six golds - and 18 world championships. Americans Stuart McNay and David Hughes, 6th on the day, took the 470 bronze.

Third position in the Women’s 470 medal race was enough to leave Britain’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark celebrating gold after a 6pts victory from last year’s World Cup winners in Abu Dhabi, Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar.

The Austrians were second on the day in a race won by Akiyo Yamaguchi and Eri Hatayama, although it was another Japanese combination, that of Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka, who collected bronze medals.

There was consolation for Austria in the 49er Men’s class, as Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch won the medal race following back-to-back race victories the previous day to land the gold with 6pts to spare over Stefano Cherin and Andrea Tesei.

Finishing second on the day, just ahead of the Italian silver medallists, Frenchmen Gabriel Skoczek and Yann Rocherieux won bronze.

Croatia’s Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic is the new World Cup champion in the Finn Men’s class, clinching gold with a 4th place in the medal race. Turkey’s Alican Kaynar finished third to claim silver, while victory on the day saw Spain’s Pablo Guitian Sarria edge ahead of Britain’s Edward Wright to take bronze.

With an offshore breeze of 8-13 knots switching to a sea breeze later on, Australian Tom Burton was always in control in the men’s Laser class, taking third place in the medal race to comfortably secure gold ahead of Cypriot winner on the day, Pavlos Kontides.

A closing sixth place finish was enough to see another Australian, Matthew Wearn, squeeze past five-times Olympic medalist Robert Scheidt to take the bronze after the Brazilian closed with a disappointing 9th.

The battle for gold in the women’s Laser Radials was one of the most intriguing of the World Cup final, and ultimately it went to Sweden’s Josefin Olsson who had trailed Holland’s Marit Bouwmeester by a single point overnight.

photo caption:    Sweden’s Josefin Olsson acclaims her gold medal win in the Laser Radials

While Olsson finished 4th on the day, Bouwmeester slipped to 8th in the medal race. Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom, first to finish, subsequently collected a penalty but was still able to beat Belgium’s defending champion Evi Van Acker to the bronze medal.

The men’s windsurfing event was another which brought a last-day turnaround, with Spain’s Ivan Pastor Lafuente taking the RS:X medal race to snatch gold from Brazil’s overnight leader, Ricardo Santos, who slumped to 7th on the day for silver. Britain’s Tom Squires won the bronze medal.

Arguably the most impressive performer of the regatta was Britain’s Bryony Shaw who successfully defended her World Cup crown in the RS:X women’s class, winning the medal race for her 7th victory out of 10. Second place on the day gave Italy’s Flavia Tartaglini the silver medal while Brazilian Patricia Freitas finished third to secure the bronze.

With Britain’s Oliver Bridge battling for a second successive World Cup gold in the open kiteboarding event, the decisive race had to be postponed until later in the day when the wind dropped completely in mid-afternoon.

Competitor quotes:

Tom Burton (Australia) Laser

 “Obviously I came here to win. I haven’t really raced since Rio so I had a one month block of training with a good group of guys beforehand. I won last year so my aim was to come back again and win.

The thought of wanting to win kind of excites you and when I crossed the finish line it was a relief. It’s been a tough week and I was happy to win, but mainly relieved. Hopefully I have redeemed Australia after last night’s match.”

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (Australia) 470 Men


“It’s been a long week with difficult conditions to sail in, but it’s been great to race in the morning. We have had some tough competition and there hasn’t been much rest since the worlds. We knew everyone was in top form and highly motivated so we are happy to get the win.”


“It’s been a really good week and it’s been nice to come back to Abu Dhabi and we’ve been pretty lucky to have such good wind. There are a lot of top guys here in the fleet and I think everyone is really tired but obviously we are really happy to come away with the win.”

Ivan Pastor (Spain) RSX: Men

“We have just arrived here from the worlds in Oman so it has been especially hard for us. We had some very good winds, and with the level of athletes, the medal race was very close. The top five guys were all within 10 points so it was super close. I was leading with the wind so I was very happy to win.”

Ivan Gaspic (Croatia) Finn

“Today was a quite a tough start. Just as we started the race the wind was beginning to shift which made it a really uncomfortable start. I was a little bit late on starting and I struggled with keeping contact with the fleet so I was a bit sleepy still.

I had a good opportunity to close the gap on the leadership pack and I took it. I had a few penalties during the race so that made it difficult but I was happy to cross the finish line in third place.”

Bryony Shaw (Great Britain) RSX: Women

“It’s fantastic to win here in Abu Dhabi. The week has been full of hard physical racing and I’m pleased to take home so many wins including the medal race. This shows that things are going well for me on plaining conditions as well as in light winds. It’s a good finish to my season.”

photo caption:    Austria’s Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch – gold medal winners in the 49er Men’s class.

Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (Austria) 49er


“It’s really nice to win. We had some tough races in the bay here and there was a lot of pressure as our goal was to win the regatta. We had some nice races in the end and we are both relieved and really happy.”

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (Great Britain) 470 Women


“It feels amazing to win; it has been really tricky all week with the offshore morning breeze, which made the racing super close. We have had really good fun all week. There was a bit of pressure in the medal race and it was open for a number of people to win so it was great to go out and execute under pressure. It was a valuable experience.”

Josefin Olsson (Sweden) Laser Radial

“This is my first World Cup win so it feels great, it’s always good to win the final! It means a lot to be up there and fight it out with the top girls and get a podium position in the end.”

- Tony Lewis, Total Communications Dubai - also photos

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/aussie-duo-extend-isaf-world-cup-final-abu-dhabi---142821.html

01.11.2015 / MaP

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