Allianz Sailing World Championships: Asia on fire

Allianz Sailing World Championships: Asia on fire

Allianz Sailing World Championships: Asia on fire

Sport

12/08/2023 - 10:00

It’s not that you don’t expect to see Asian teams doing well in the 470 Mixed dinghy, but to hold five out of the top six places after day one is extraordinary. Japan has teams in first, fourth and sixth overall, and China has teams in second and third.

Leading the charge are Japan’s Keiju Okada and Miho Yoshioka. This is a form team and it’s not at all surprising to see them up at the front.

Asked what the secret to today’s success was, Okada laughed: “I can’t tell you. But today was light winds and we get a lot of light winds back in Japan, and we have current too. Not as strong as what we have here [in The Hague], but we are used to working with current. Today was about reading the current and to keep watching out for the best pressure [wind]. We are comfortable in today’s wind, but tomorrow looks like it will be windier, so we need to be ready for something different.”

Allianz Sailing World Championships: Asia on fire
Allianz Sailing World Championships: Asia on fire

Will the teams from the Far East be able to hold on to the early advantage?

Certainly there are a lot of world-class teams who struggled today but have the experience to know there is plenty of time to mount a challenge for the podium. At last year’s Worlds in Israel, Luise Wanser and Philipp Autenrieth had a terrible opening race but bounced back with a dominant performance that saw the German team take the world title.

So perhaps today’s scores of 21,3 are a sign of history repeating itself? Sitting in 22nd overall, it’s hardly the way that the reigning World Champions would like to start their defence, but they know there’s plenty of opportunity in the coming week to make amends.

Allianz Sailing World Championships: Asia on fire
Allianz Sailing World Championships: Asia on fire

And what about the winners of the Paris 2024 Test Event just a month ago?

Sailing with Camille Lecointre, the ever-smiling Jérémie Mion laughs wryly at their opening race in The Hague.

“A UFD disqualification. Crossing the start line too soon, it’s not the best way to start the Worlds,” said the former men’s 470 World Champion. “But we did exactly the same thing a month ago in Marseille and we managed to win the gold at the Test Event. So we know what’s possible.”

The French team sits in 38th overall after two races. Ever the optimist, Mion takes more heart from the fact that they crossed the finish line in second place before discovering their start line infringement.

“We sailed well in that race, even if we didn’t get a score from it, and then we got a fourth in the next race, so we are sailing well and that’s the most important thing.”

The old cliché in sailing is that you can’t win the event on day one, but you can certainly lose it. Neither the German nor French teams have lost yet the Worlds, and both have the tenacity and experience to fight their way back up the rankings.

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