Displaying items by tag: Laser Radial
China's Lijia Xu, The Netherlands' Marit Bouwmeester and Belgium's Evi Van Acker, medallists from London 2012, will make their Olympic return in the One Person Dinghy (Laser Radial) at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. For Ireland's fourth placed Annalise Murphy it is a chance to settle old scores.
The four were locked in a thrilling winner take all Medal Race battle at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Annalise missing out on the podium in Weymouth and Portland, Great Britain.
Four years on and Xu returns to defend her crown, Bouwmeester and Van Acker will be aiming to go one and two spots up whereas Murphy will be wanting to vanquish the demons from London 2012.
The Chinese racer initially stepped away from the sport after London 2012 but the lure was too strong as she made a return to Olympic sailing at the end of 2015.
"Of course the goal is to get another medal,” explained Xu, "but realistically it's a very short time, only one year, to prepare.
"I decided to retire because of so many injuries. I suffered quite a lot and I wanted to have a healthy body to live the rest of my life with, rather than having pain here and there. Last August I suddenly felt that the Olympics was still something that fired me up. After two years break I actually felt my body was recovering much better than before so I thought why not give it another try.”
Xu has secured some steady results since making her return with a silver medal at the 2016 Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland regatta the highlight. Whatever her result at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is, the picture is much broader for Xu, "The Olympics is just part of the goal and I want to lead an active life forever and leave a legacy for Chinese sailing. That's the ultimate goal I'm seeking and the Olympics is just a part of it.
"I think I am one of the few who is doing something I truly love and enjoy doing. Of course, in terms of Olympic sailing and the Olympic circuit it takes a lot of effort and you need to be prepared to make some sacrifices like being away from home, travelling a lot and spending thousands of hours in the gym and on the water.
"So long as you find something that interests you it will motivate you to keep going, no matter what lies ahead. I feel very lucky to find sailing as not just my hobby but as my career.”
As for the form guide, Bouwmeester and Van Acker have dominated the Laser Radial over the Olympic quadrennial. The Dutch and Belgian racers have featured regularly on World Championship, European Championship, Sailing World Cup and Olympic Test Event podiums. They will both be major contenders in Rio.
Building up to the 2016 Games, the World Championship titles have been shared four ways. Tina Mihelic of Croatia took the title in 2013, Bouwmeester snapped it up in 2014 followed by Anne Marie Rindom (DEN) in 2015 and Alison Young (GBR) in 2016. Mihelic, Rindom and Young have the Olympic experience under their belts as well so know what it takes to perform.
Away from the World Championships, Lithuania's Gintare Scheidt, Beijing 2008 silver medallist and wife of Brazilian sailing legend Robert, claimed gold at the 2015 Olympic Test Event. Scheidt will be making her third Olympic appearance and will also have the honour of carrying her nations flag at the Opening Ceremony on 5 August.
Further leading lights of the Laser Radial, who will have an eye on the podium, are Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR), Veronika Fenclova (CZE), Tuula Tenkanen (FIN), Ireland's Murphy, Josefin Olsson (SWE) and Paige Railey (USA).
Much like the Men's One Person Dinghy (Laser), the Laser Radial will feature some of the tightest, tactical racing at Rio 2016 and any sailor on any given day could come up with a performance of a lifetime to seal the deal.
Racing will commence at 13:10 local time on Monday 8 August on the Escola Naval racing area.
Imagination matters when growing up. Children pictures themselves as their heroes and heroines. From film stars, sporting heroes, astronauts and firemen, the list goes on.
Having a vivid imagination is key and playgrounds and playrooms are transformed into iconic venues such as the Brazilian football stadium, the Maracana and Hollywood's Red Carpet. As children grow up, the imagination helps to form dreams which can often turn into reality.
However sometimes when you're about to achieve your dream, it's important to remember the innocence of a childhood imagination. It seems farfetched that on the eve of a four-way Olympic showdown that a soon to be Queen of Chinese Olympic Sailing did exactly that, imagining herself as an A-list actress, parading in front of the world's showbiz media on the red carpet of a Hollywood premiere, eyes of the world on her in an attempt to relieve the pressure of Olympic sport. For Lijia Xu, it worked.
Heading into the Laser Radial Medal Race at London 2012 China's Xu was one of four sailors in with a shout of gold. Out of Xu, Marit Bouwmeester (NED), Evi Van Acker (BEL) and Annalise Murphy (IRL) it was winner take all.
Far from being a perfect race for Xu, it was however, her best Olympic race.
"I meditated and pretended to be an elegant actress with numerous cameras on me," explained Xu. "I sailed the race in my mind over and over again and I was prepared for the spectators on the Nothe course and lots of cameras."
As the cameras started to roll each leading contender concentrated on their own efforts as whoever crossed the finish line first would be crowned Olympic champion.
Bouwmeester took the early initiative but it then swayed to Murphy and then to Xu. As Xu looked to take control she was penalised on the first downwind and forced to make a penalty turn, handing the advantage back to Bouwmeester. However, Xu was in the mood and focused solely on what had to be done. She grabbed the lead and held on to cross the finish line to take Olympic glory.
Watch Lijia Xu's Medal Race back above.
Hello and welcome aboard this week’s edition of your maritime programme Seascapes...this week we talk to Olympic sailor Annalise Murphy about her preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and the condition of the waters on the Olympic Sailing Course; writer and broadcaster Hugh Oram on Athlone and its riverine heritage; World Shipping and how the global economy is having a major impact on what is known as the Baltic Dry Index and how some ships can now cost eight thousand dollars a day to run at sea...and we have the 2nd part of our profile of Captain Robert Halpin with his biographer Jim Rees...first here on Seascapes to Laser Radial sailor extraordinaire and Olympian Annalise Murphy, we talked to Annalise at the recent Irish Sailing Association/Afloat Awards she told us how her preparations are going for Rio in the third Olympic cycle for the Laser Radial...
Annalise Murphy talking exclusively to Seascapes, we wish her and all our other Olympians and Paralympian‘s all the very best later this year, you can hear our “SEASCAPES” podcast every week now on AFLOAT.IE as well as in all the usual haunts both online and on the RTE Player.....check out our webpage www.rte.ie/radio1/seascapes or visit us on the book of the face...
As the championship-calibre Laser Radial specialist tells The42 in a revealing interview, expectations of a guaranteed medal on Guanabara Bay after she narrowly missed out on bronze in London 2012 are unwarranted.
"To be honest, I haven’t been sailing as well as I could have over the past year and a half,” she tells The42's Paul Fennessy. “I think my training’s been going really well and my preparation’s been good. My racing hasn’t been at the standard that I’d like it to be at."
And the big weakness in Murphy's game is one long known to Afloat.ie's readers: her lacklustre performance in lighter winds.
While continuing to show strong form in challenging gusts, such as at Palma last March, the former European champion failed to defend her title in Croatia the year before due to the light and shifty breezes.
But the 26-year-old is candid about the need to "improve [her] confidence in the surfing conditions".
Indeed, that appears to be a much bigger priority for the Rathfarnham native and National Yacht Club stalwart than any concerns about pollution in the Olympic sailing venue – from floating debris to the risk of viral infection, not least the threat of the recent Zika outbreak.
The42 has much more on the story HERE.
Finn Lynch and Annalise Murphy continue to lead their respective Laser Irish Olympic Sailing Trials at the Copa de Vela Brasil in Rio this morning but Lynch has slipped back for four places after six races sailed in the overall rankings. Download full results below.
Lynch is now 36th from 48. Other Irish contestants are Fionn Lyden in 42nd and James Espey 43rd.
In the women's Radial division, Murphy stays 13th, now 15 places ahead of Howth's Aoife Hopkins.
There are four races left to sail in this, the first of three Irish Laser trials.
The Laser Radial Women’s World Championship, organised by Oman Sail, concluded today with Anne-Marie Rindom from Denmark securing the overall world championship title. After a difficult week Ireland's Annalise Murphy recovered to be fifth in the silver fleet.
The 24-year-old Scandinavian representing Horsens Sejlklub in Jutland, managed to stay cool on a somewhat frustrating day dominated by general recalls, and clinch the event from Marit Bouwmeester (NED). They both finished the day on equal points, but two first places in the overall rankings was enough to break the tie in Rindom’s favour.
Fresh from victory at Semaine Olympique Francaise La Rochelle in October, and a win at the Laser Europa Cup in Denmark in the summer, Rindom was on top form right from the start at this event. This former Optimist sailor who won the first race, and sailed a generally consistent series had to discard a 19th place from today.
“It is an amazing feeling to be confirmed world champion. I can hardly believe it. Thankfully I was able to discard today’s poor result!” she said as she stepped ashore.
There is little rest for the new world champion though. “I have one week at home then I am off to Rio for training, followed by Miami for the next World Cup so it is full on for me from now on.”
Rindom was enthusiastic about Al Mussanah as a world championship venue: "It is a perfect place for a championship, great launching and plenty of room for everybody and, most importantly, the conditions are great for sailing."
Light, shifty conditions and fleets eager to start resulted in a succession of general recalls in both Gold and Silver fleets. The Gold fleet managed just one race before the 15:00 time limit and Silver was unable to start at all.
Bouwmeester (NED), 2014 World Champion and 2012 Olympic silver medalist was naturally disappointed about losing her title but a fourth place in today’s race was enough to retain silver.
Evi Van Acker (BEL) representing the Royal Belgian Sailing Club, and ranked world number one, also had a less than satisfactory day.
“It was a frustrating day, I think I was on the wrong side on the first upwind and, although I caught up a lot on the first downwind, I then went up the right side of the beat, and the wind came completely from the left so I lost out there too.
“Overall though, it’s been a great week of sailing with a real mix of conditions which is perfect for this sort of regatta.”
As well as Rindom’s success of being crowned world champion, the star of the show in today’s sole race was reigning Olympic champion – Lijia Xu (CHN). This 28-year-old sailor from Shanghai, who has been off the racing scene for two years with back and knee injury, demonstrated her light wind skills by winning the final race.
From a pin-end of the line start, Xu read the shifts well and had a good first beat. She pulled up the fleet from 3rd on the final round and led fellow Chinese sailor and closest rival, Dongshuang Zhang, across the line.
“Today's conditions were perfect for me because that is what I am most into. I am glad that most of my feeling is still there. One month ago I wouldn't even have been able to finish one race in strong winds. The best I could manage was a club race in Weymouth with amateur sailors so I am glad to be where I am now,” said Xu.
"The fitness is just a matter of time and with eight months I am quite confident I can compete for a place at the Rio Olympics.”
The prize giving and closing ceremony, took place at Al Mussanah Sports City in the presence of Her Highness Dr. Muna bint Fahad Al Said – Assistant Vice Chancellor of International Cooperation at Sultan Qaboos University – and Her Excellency Maitha Al Mahrouqi – Undersecretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Chairwoman of Oman Sail.
Also present was David Graham, Oman Sail CEO, who, in his closing speech said that hosting major international events in the Sultanate helps to build the country’s profile and the effects of this championship will be visible in Oman for many years to come. “The quality of sailing on show has been incredible, with fierce competition every single day. It is an honour to have welcomed Olympic Champions, medallists, World Champions, the current world number one and many of the sailors who will be lining up in Rio next summer.”
Overall Results (top 10)
Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) 40pts
Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 40pts
Evi Van Acker (BEL) 44pts
Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) 49pts
Josefin Olsson (SWE) 53pts
Lijia Xu (CHN) 84pts
Alison Young (GBR) 101pts
Manami Doi (JPN) 104pts
Maxime Jonker (NED) 110pts
Erika Reineke (USA) 110pts
Line Flem Høst (NOR) 81pts
Isabella Bertold (CAN) 108pts
Andrea Aldana (GUA) 109pts
Susannah Pyatt (NZL) 115pts
Annalise Murphy (IRL) 125pts
Odile Ginaid (BRA) 125pts
Lena Haverland (GER) 137pts
Anna Pohlak (EST) 141pts
Elena Vorobeva (RUS) 151pts
Kanako Hiruta (JPN) 154pts
As well as producing a new world champion, the Laser Radial Women’s World Championships at Millennium Resort in Mussanah acted as a country Olympic qualification event for the Laser Radial class.
After today's racing, a total of four countries have had their Olympic qualification confirmed.
Countries qualified for the Olympics are as follows:
After the first two races of the Laser Radial Women’s World Championship in Oman, Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) leads the field overnight, with Marit Bouwmeester (NED) in second. Ireland's Annalise Murphy scored a 35 and a 33 to be placed 74th in the 100–boat fleet. Download the results sheet below.
In winds that reached 9–knots the 100 competitors enjoyed an exciting start to the intense six-day event.
Number 2-ranked Rindom (25), from Aarhus, Denmark comes to the event fresh from a win at the Semaine Olympique Francaise, La Rochelle, France in October. She continues to sail impressively and in Blue group today, managed to hold off current reigning world champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED) who is in second place overnight.
Commenting on her win, Rindom said: “It was a really good day. I managed to have good speed, which is very important in this competitive fleet. In the coming days, I think it will be a fierce competition between today’s top 10, and I look forward to what lies ahead.”
Leader of Yellow group today and fifth overall in the overall rankings is Philipine Van Aanholt (ARU). Twenty-three-year-old Van Aanholt, posted a 10th and a 3rd to beat world ranked number one – Evi Van Acker (BEL), 30. Van Acker with a second and a 12th is lying 7th in the overall rankings. Commenting on today’s racing Van Aanholt said: “I think I made good decisions today and I am just really happy about it. The conditions are generally light and shifty which makes it really tactical, but I like it that way.”
One of the most impressive performances today came from Lijia Xu (CHN) – reigning Olympic champion. This 28-year old speed sailor who has spent the last two years recovering from back and knee pain, led both races in Blue group today and finished the day with a 1st and 10th, which leaves her in fourth place overall.
Commenting on her comeback, Xu said: “I am really pleased with my performance today after such a long time off. I had a forced break from sailing because I felt I could no longer sustain the heavy training and the intensive load of sailing the Laser Radial. I suffered a lot with lower back and knee pain so it is a bonus to sail here pain free. I am pleased to see my feeling is still there but obviously I need to practice more to get those boat handling skills, and fitness back.”
Another race winner today in Yellow group was Paige Railey. This high profile American Olympic sailor who has spent over a year recovering from a cycling accident is back on form again. She won the Pan American Games in Toronto in August and now looks set to challenge for a top place at this event.
Following a lavish, Laser Radial Women’s World Championship grand opening ceremony yesterday evening, which showcased the best of Omani cultural hospitality, and a tough day on the water today, the 100-strong fleet is taking time to relax this evening and prepare for day two of the regatta.
In his speech at the opening ceremony, David Graham (CEO Oman Sail) said this event will help to create a lasting legacy in Oman for female sailors: “Our Women’s Programme has created new career opportunities for Omani women in sailing, either as coaches or instructors, or as part of the region’s first all-female sailing team – regularly lining up alongside male teams and showing that sport can break down boundaries and provide equal footing on which to compete.”
It was evident from the sort of performance seen on the race course today that this women’s event is going to live up to its reputation. Jeff Martin, Executive Secretary of the International Laser Class Association, commented: “The 2015 Laser Radial Women’s World Championship is the largest and arguably the toughest of all the women’s Olympic sailing events. Here in Mussanah we have 100 of the world’s best women sailors from 48 countries across five continents.”
The second day of racing (races 3 and 4 of the Qualifying Series) continues tomorrow (Saturday). Once again the fleet will split into Yellow and Blue groups, with the first race scheduled for 1200 local time (CET +3).
The best female Laser sailors in the world including Ireland's Annalise Murphy will be sharpening their skills and tactics ahead of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when the 2015 Laser Radial Women’s World Championships get underway in Mussanah, Oman, later this month.
In their last major competition before Olympic sailing starts on 15 August 2016, and the final qualifying event of the cycle, the 100 top Laser Radial sailors including London 2012 gold medallist Lijia Xu from China and Evi Van Acker from Belgium who is ranked world number one, will be arriving at Al Mussanah Sports City determined to leave their mark on this fiercely competitive fleet.
In October, Mussanah played host to the hugely successful RS:X World Windsurfing Championships and the Rio-like conditions in the Gulf of Oman are similarly expected to produce new rivalries and see old scores settled among the medal hungry Laser women.
Their World Championship campaigns will start on Tuesday 10 November when they descend on the Millennium Resort race village to begin their acclimatisation and training before the first qualifying race gets underway on Thursday 20 November.
Six days of racing, with two back to back races each day, will culminate in a prize-giving and closing ceremony attended by a host of dignitaries from the Sultanate of Oman, event organisers Oman Sail and from the International Laser Class Association.
With Van Acker looking to reaffirm her position in the fleet, competition promises to be tough. One of her main rivals Gintare Volungeviciute-Scheidt from Lithuania won the recent Test Event in Rio and will have received plenty of handy tips on the conditions at Mussanah from Brazilian husband Robert who swept to victory in the Laser World Championships in Oman in 2013.
Dutch rival Marit Bouwmeester, silver medallist at London 2012 and ranked fourth in the world, Alison Young from Great Britain in third and Anne-Marie Rindom from Denmark will also be keen to establish themselves as contenders for the gold medal in nine months time while Paige Riley from the US will be looking to repeat her 4th place success from the Test Event in August.
Chinese interest will be running high as Lijia Xu returns to competition for the first time in two years though she has already made it clear she will not be campaigning at Rio 2016, opting instead to continue her studies in England and explore other sailing opportunities. Laser Radial fans are in for a real treat as these top class contenders battle it out for honours at such a critical time in their preparations in a venue recognised as a perfect warm up opportunity for Rio.
“We are delighted and proud to be welcoming the Laser Radial Women’s World Championships to Oman and hope the athletes and their coaches from all the different nations enjoy the same success as the three Laser World Championships we staged in 2013 and the recent RS:X Worlds last month,” said Salma Al Hashmi, Director of Events and Marketing for Oman Sail.
“It is especially pleasing that the 2015 Laser Radial Women’s World Championships race management will be officials from Oman Sail, trained here in Oman and now officiating at top class events all around the world. We send the athletes, race managers and everyone our best wishes for a successful competition.”
In total, 100 sailors representing 50 nations will attend the 2015 Laser Radial Women’s World Championships. A further 39 coaches will be in attendance alongside other back up staff members of the national squads and Laser class officials.
A sixth, an eighth and a 22nd scored by Annalise Murphy today moves up her the scoreboard from 19 to within striking distance of the top ten of the Laser Radial fleet at Semaine Olympique Française.
This morning's race started with 15-18 knots of wind, and averaged 23 knots this afternoon, with strong swells.
The National Yacht Club solo sailor leads Irish hopes in the 37–boat fleet where three other Irish sailors are also competing. Joining Annalise in La Rochelle are Irish Olympic trialists Nicole Hemeryck of the National Yacht Club in 25th, Aoife Hopkins of Howth YC (28th) and Aisling Keller of Lough Derg (32nd).
Racing continues tomorrow.
Hopkins also qualified for that event, being the youngest competitor at the age of 16 – which means she has years of experience to build ahead of her to show her true potential, and achieve her dream of a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
That's quite an achievement for a teenager who's only been sailing the Laser Radial for two years!