Storms caused a reduction of sailing races, but four nations managed to qualify at the 2016 Asian Sailing Championship. In total quotas for six events were up for grab. The two highest ranked eligible boats in the men’s RS:X, men’s laser and women’s laser radial qualified their nation while the highest ranked boat in the women’s RS:X, men’s 49er and women’s 49erFX qualifier their nation. The Asian Sailing Championship was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from March 5th to March 12th 2016.
The men’s 49er began with many nations jostling for positions, but eventually it was Japan’s Yukio Makino and Kenji Takahashi whom pulled ahead of the competition though only held a four point lead going into the medal race. Their third place finish however was enough to win the event and qualify to the Olympics with 18.0 net points. The silver medal went to South Korea while the bronze went to Oman.
It became quite clear that Japan was going to win the quota place for the women’s 49erFX, but the main question became which among the three boats would officially win the spot. All three of Japan’s boats were tied at 13.0 points going into the medal race. Keeping true to their top performances all three boats finished within the top four positions with the boat containing Keiko Miyagawa and Sena Takano winning the gold medal.
The men’s laser was topped by Malaysia’s Khairulnizam Afendy whom essentially qualified to the Olympics before the medal race even began. The second quota went to silver medalist Keerati Bualong of Thailand whom had a strong medal race to secure his spot.
The first quota for the women’s laser radial was won by Thailand’s Kamolwan Chanyim whom secured at least a top two finish before the medal race after winning four out of the seven fleet races and finishing in the top four in all of her races. The gold medal wasn’t secured though and she was made to work for it as she finished the medal race in fourth position to win the gold by three points. The silver medal and the second Olympic quota went to Nur Shazrin Latif of Malaysia.
The men’s RS:X was dominated by South Korea’s Cho Wonwoo as he won five out of the eight fleet races and proceeded to win the medal race as well. However, South Korea has already won a quota in the event. The first quota went to bronze medalist Natthaphong Phonoppharat of Thailand. The second quota had to be decided via the medal race as Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines were all still in contention for the final spot. In the end Leonard Ong’s sixth place finish was enough to secure Singapore the quota as he finished in seventh place overall.
The women’s RS:X was won by Hong Kong’s Sin Lam Lo whom had a consistent performance throughout the event. The Olympic quota came down to Thailand’s Siripon Kaewduangngam and South Korea’s Sabin Chun. While Chun finished ahead of Kaewduangngam in the medal race it was not enough to take the overall lead as Thailand grabbed the only quota and silver medal.
Overall this was a great event for Southeast Asia and Japan. With this event all of the Asian continental qualifiers have concluded. One more event remains to decide quotas for two continents, the Princess Sofia Trophy Regatta which is scheduled to begin at the end of the month.
Boats by Nations
- Thailand – 4
- Japan – 2
- Malaysia – 2
- Singapore – 1
- ASAF. ASAF Asian Championships 2016 Results. Access on March 12 2016.