Guatemala and the United States won the laser and laser radial events respectively at the Pan American Games. The continental qualifiers were split for these two events where the highest ranked nation not yet qualified from the North and South American regions will qualify to the Olympics. The fight for the second spots will occur in a later regatta. The Pan America Games are currently being held in Toronto, Canada from July 7th to July 26th 2015. The sailing events were held from July 12th to July 19th 2015.
United States’ Paige Railey may have only won one race, but she was by far the most consistent sailor in the women’s laser radial. In fact her worst race was only a 8th place finish in a field of 16. With that she was able to take a 10 point lead going into the medal race where she easily hanged on to win gold.
The fight for the North American position ultimately came down to Aruba’s Philipine van Aanholt and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kelly-Ann Arrindell where a five point gap separated the two going into the medal race. Arrindell did the best she could be winning the race, but Aanholt’s third place finish meant it was enough for Aruba to qualify.
The South American quota was between Argentina’s Lucia Falasca, Uruguay’s Dolores Moreira and Venezuela’s Daniela Rivera. Falasca had a 4 and 10 point lead over Uruguay and Venezuela respectively, but a disastrous medal race where she placed eighth, not only cost her a medal, but an Olympic quota. Instead it was Uruguay’s second place performance which was enough not only for a silver medal, but an Olympic quota. Brazil’s Fernanda Demetrio won the bronze.
Like in the women’s race Guatemala’s Juan Ignacio Maegli may have only won a single race, but it was his consistency in the men’s laser that won him the event as he posted a top 5 finish in every race except one which was dropped anyways. The silver medal went to Brazil’s Robert Scheidt while the bronze went to Canada’s Lee Parkhill.
The quota for North America nations wasn’t much of a race as Trinidad and Tobago’s Andrew Lewis consistently finished ahead of his eligible opponents and was the only sailor to reach the medal rounds.
As with North America in South America it was El Salvador’s Enrique Arathoon that did just enough against his Venezuelan opponent to stay ahead of him in most races. While in some sports which separate North and South America include El Salvador as a North American nation in sailing they are considered a South American nation.
The other single spot in men’s laser and women’s laser radial will be decided at a world cup in early 2016. The laser radial also has its world championships to go so it will be likely that some nations in Pan America will qualify through that.
Quotas by Nation
- Aruba – 1
- El Salvador – 1
- Trinidad and Tobago – 1
- Uruguay – 1
- ISAF. Pan American Games serves up four Rio 2016 qualifiers. Access on July 20 2015.