China and Singapore split the Olympic quotas at the 2015 Qingdao Sailing World Cup. While nations from around the world were allowed to participate at the World Cup this event was to be the Asian qualifiers for the men’s Finn, men’s 470, women’s 470 and the Nacra17. The highest ranked Asian team not yet qualified from the four events will be given a spot to compete at the Olympics. The fifth stage of the Sailing World Cup was held in Qingdao, China from September 16th to September 20th 2015.
While 10 boats participated in the men’s Finn nine of them were from China while the other was from Iran. Iran’s Ahmad Ahmadi was never a threat for the quota spot as he ultimately finished in 8th. The fight for which Chinese athlete would win their nation the quota was intense. At first it looked as if Lei Gong would win it easily, but back to back scores of 11 due to an On Course Side penalty and Did Not Enter penalty placed him back, even after one of the scores was dropped. He Chen looked as if he would win, but he also suffered two 11 point penalties from infractions. This left Luwen Shen as the only sailor without major penalties. However, despite receiving the 11 point penalty Lei Gong won 6 out of the 9 races, including the medal race and with Luwen Shen finishing the medal race in fourth it gave Lei Gong a 1 point win and the gold medal. Xin Li won the bronze medal. Regardless of who won it is still up to China to choose who will represent them at the Olympics.
Since Japan previously qualified in the men’s 470 China became the big favourite to win the quota place. As the races continued it became a three-way race between Austria’s David Bargehr and Lukas Mahr, China’s Hao Lan and Chao Wang and Spain’s Onan Barreiors and Juan Curbelo Cabrera. While South Korea and Thailand both qualified to the medal race mathematically there was no chance for them to catch China for the Olympic quota. In the medal race China’s second place finish and Austria’s fourth place finish gave China a one point win for the gold medal. Spain finished closely behind for the bronze medal.
Both China and Japan already qualified in the women’s 470 as they dominated the competition by taking up nine out of the ten spots for the match race. Despite never winning a race Japan’s Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka were by far the most consistent sailors as they easily won gold in the event. The silver and bronze medals went to Japan’s Akiyo Yamaguchi and Eri Hatayama and China’s Shasha Chen and Haiyan Gao. The Olympic quota came down to Malaysia’s Nuraisyah Jamil and Norashikin Sayed and Singapore’s Priscilla Low and Shu Xian Lee. In the end both nations finished tied with 76 points. The tiebreaker goes to the boat with the best score which they both tied again. The tie was broken on their second best score as Singapore had an 8th place finish over Malaysia’s 9th place finish and thus Singapore was given the Olympic quota.
The Nacra17 was dominated by Singapore’s pair Justin Liu and Denise Lim as they won 9 out of the 13 races in the event. Their Olympic quota however was not secured until after the match race as both China’s Zijin Wen and Rubei Yuan and Hong Kong’s Tat Choi Fang and Yu Ting Chan could mathematically catch them. However by winning the match race they finish 18 points ahead of China while a poor race by Hong Kong left them 29 points behind Singapore.
This was the final opportunity for Asian nations to qualify in the Nacra17, but for the other three boats they can still qualify through the respective world championship events to be held later this year. As for the continental qualification for the other six boats the qualifiers will occur at the ASAF Cup to be held in 2016.
Boats by Nation
- China – 2
- Singapore – 2
Athletes by Nation
- Singapore – 4
- China – 3
- ISAF. 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao. Access on September 20 2015.