China and France were crowned champions at the 2015 RS:X World Windsurfing Championship. In terms of Olympic qualification the top six nations from the men and women events not yet qualified will be given a quota to compete. The RS:X World Windsurfing Championship was held in Al Mussanah, Oman from October 19th to October 24th 2015.
The men’s RS:X was split into two groups for the first six races before the top sailors were combined to form the gold fleet. In total 20 nations were eligible for Olympic qualification. After the six qualifier races Pierre Le Coq of France was by far the most impressive sailor as he won four races and finished within the top three in the other two as he took the early lead. Despite his string of great results he was only six points ahead of Zhichao Zhi of China and Ivan Pastor Lafuente of Spain going into the gold fleet. In terms of Olympic qualification eight eligible nations qualified to the gold fleet while the others will only play for ranking in the silver fleet.
Le Coq was more or less able to maintain his lead over the gold fleet, but was never able to extend it as he entered the medal race with a three point lead over Zhichao and his compatriot Wang Aichen and could potentially finish as low as seventh should results go against him. However, Le Coq finished the medal race in fourth which was just enough to ahead of Wang as he won the event by 1 point. Zhichao on the other hand had a poor medal race and was ultimately passed by Dorian van Rijsselberge of the Netherlands for bronze. The six Olympic quotas went to sixth place Switzerland, South Korea, Hungary, Hong Kong, Portugal and Mexico which meant Ukraine and Belarus were the odd teams out in the gold fleet.
The women’s RS:X was also split into two groups for the first six races where the top sailors were combined to form the gold fleet. In total 17 nations were eligible for Olympic qualification. China’s Chen Peina won the first three races and had the overall lead by the end of the qualification races though she was only slightly ahead of her competitors with Charline Picon of France and Poland’s Malgorzata Bialecka following closely behind. Only three eligible nations made the cut for the gold fleet which means Hong Kong, Japan and Norway all booked their spots to the Olympics while the other 14 nations were left to fight for the other three in the silver fleet.
Bialecka was able to take the lead at the end of the first day of the final round races as the push for gold came down between her and Chen. However, a poor second day from Bialecka was enough to give Chen the gold medal as her lead made the medal race meaningless. She would demonstrate this by finishing last in the medal race. The silver and bronze medals went to Bryony Shaw of Great Britain and Lilian de Geus of the Netherlands respectively. The other three quotas went to Australia, Denmark and Greece.
All nations will get one more opportunity to qualify at their respective continental qualifiers. With many of the top nations already qualified it will be interesting to see who else will grab the final spots.
Quotas by Nation
- Hong Kong – 2
- Australia – 1
- Denmark – 1
- Greece – 1
- Hungary – 1
- Japan – 1
- South Korea – 1
- Mexico – 1
- Norway – 1
- Portugal – 1
- Switzerland – 1
- RS:X Class. 2015 RS:X World Windsurfing Championships – Men. Access on October 24 2015.
- RS:X Class. 2015 RS:X World Windsurfing Championships – Women. Access on October 24 2015.