Finland claims Summer Universiade gold thanks to near-perfect final day

Finland claims Summer Universiade gold thanks to near-perfect final day

Finland claims Summer Universiade gold thanks to near-perfect final day

Sport

15/07/2019 - 20:06
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Finland captured gold in mixed fleet racing on Friday thanks to a near-perfect performance on the final day of the Napoli 2019 sailing competition at iconic Circolo del Remo e della Vela Italia, in the Bay of Naples.
Mixed fleet was the lone sailing event scheduled at the 30th Summer Universiade as the sport returned to the biennial multisport event for the first time since 2011, in Shenzhen, China.

Seeded second going into the eight-team final after collecting 51 points in 16 preliminary contests, the Finnish foursome of skipper Oskari Muhonen and crew members Cecilia Sandman, Catharina Sandman and Alexander Gronblom won three of four races on the afternoon and placed second in the other to end up with a minuscule seven points.

"It was a very good day for us. We managed to get clean starts and where able to get our own lanes," said the winning skipper. "I think that was the big difference today. When you get a clear lane after the start, then it's easy if you have the speed.

"The level of competition was very good here. We started the week really well then had little setbacks, especially on the third day, but we managed to come back pretty well."

Fourth-seeded Austria, the only team to defeat Finland on Friday, moved up two spots to capture silver thanks to a 14-point tally, while Singapore 2 held on to third position with 17 points.

"It was a great day for us. We came into the final in fourth place so we were pretty relaxed, to be honest," said the Austrian skipper Stefan Scharnagl, whose crew included Hannah Isabella Ziegler, Johanna Daum and Luis Hermann Wenger-Oehn. "Our goal was to stay out of trouble and sail conservatively, and we pretty much managed to do that. We had very good starts but the waves were really tricky to sail.

"We really felt the whole week that we were up there with the top teams, that we had good speed and could compete. We're super happy to come away with silver. This is definitely one of the best experiences of my career."

Singapore 2 skipper Jillian Lee and teammates Cheryl Teo, Jen-E Tan and Scott Lau recovered from a subpar first race to climb onto the podium.

"It was a tough battle today. We started really badly with a sixth place, so we knew we had a lot of work ahead of us. But we just kept focusing on our processes and it ended up pretty well for us," said Lee. "It was my first Universiade and it was a great experience overall."

Meanwhile, it was a tough day at the office for Australia, which dropped from first to fourth place after racking up 25 points in the four-round final, due in large part to a pair of last-place finishes. The Aussies had amassed only 48 points in the preliminary stage.

Singapore 1 (26 points), Russia (29), Germany (30) and Japan (32) rounded out the top eight.

In the two-race "small final" for positions nine through 16, Switzerland came out on top with six points, followed by Italy 1 (9), South Korea (11), Spain 2 (11), China (16), Spain 1 (18), Italy 2 (20) and France (20).

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