FRANCE ENJOY GOLDEN FOILS AFTER POLAND DOUBLE AND A WEEK OF CHAMPAGNE SAILING
After a week of thrills and spills, fine foiling and some Champagne sailing, the best of the 751 competitors across the 10 Olympic Classes at the 53rd Semaine Olympique Française de Hyères – TPM (SOF) fought for the podium in their Medal Races. Both France and Poland finished with two gold medals. All eyes were on the men’s ILCA 7, the closest of the Medal Races, but only in one of the ten classes – the ILCA 6 – was the gold medal guaranteed before the start. The 470 ended up rivalling the ILCA 7 for Medal Race of the day, as the event finished with a final test of tricky light winds and some watched their medal hopes evaporate like the nearby salt flats to the Giens peninsula. There are are now two more SOF before the “big one” in Marseille – where the Paris 2024 Olympics sailing will be held – around 50 miles west along the coast. “It has been a really positive week and a great pleasure to meet everyone here again after the two editions that did not take place,” Jean-Luc Denéchau, President of the French Sailing Federation, said. “I believe that athletes and foreign delegations have really enjoyed it. We had the level of organization we expect at a major international event, with a large number of volunteers and a really strong commitment, as usual, from Hyères and from the Toulon Provence Méditerranée area. We had beautiful weather and great competition all week, so it’s been nothing but a pleasure! “It’s an almost historic Semaine Olympique Française in terms of the number of boats and I think it will also encourage even greater competition as before 2024 we still have two beautiful SOFs to come!
ILCA 7 and 6 – (men’s and women’s solo dinghy)
Men’s ILCA 7
Kontides wins battle of the quartet
1st– CYP – Pavlos Kontides – 42 points
2nd – GBR – Elliot Hanson – 43 points
3rd – GBR – Michael Beckett – 50 points
Despite stiff competition, the ILCA 7 lived up to its billing as the Medal Race of the day with Pavlos Kontides, the first Cypriot to ever win an Olympic medal (silver at London 2012), emerging from the mêlée victorious.
Just three points separated four boats at the start and it was a winner-takes-all battle for top three of Germany’s Philip Buhl, Cyprus’s Pavlos Kontides, level on points, and Britain’s Michael Beckett, two points behind. With fellow Briton, Elliot Hanson just one point further back.
Hanson won the Medal Race but Kontides did what he needed to do, with Beckett, the winner in Palma, back in fifth and Buhl, the 2020 World Champion, stuck at the back for the third race in succession.
Women’s ILCA 6
Champagne Gold for Poland
1st – POL – Agata Barwinka – 86 points
2nd – FRA – Marie Barrue – 111 points
3rd –FRA – Louise Cervera – 113 points
Poland’s Agata Barwinska had no pressure in all senses, with the gold medal in the bag already on Friday and only 2-3 knots at times in the Medal Race. Although, despite a lead of 21 points over second place – France’s Marie Barrue – she had to wait until 21:05 on Friday night for the results of a protest until she could celebrate.
Behind Barwinska it was very tight. Barrue did just enough to hold onto silver, but if she had dropped on more place from fifth her fellow Frenchwoman Louise Cervera would have overtaken her. And if Cervera, who was third had dropped one more place, Belgium’s Emma Plaaschaert, 4th at the Tokyo Olympics, who won the Medal Race would have taken bronze.
Agata Barwinska: (When did you find out last night about the jury decision on the protest your last race and that you’d won gold?) “At 21:05! The decision was there was nothing to see and I could celebrate. I’ve always been in the Medal Races here and finally I’m on the podium and at the top, so very happy
49er (men’s and women’s high-performance double-handed dinghy)
Women’s 49er FX
Brazil’s golden duo shine
1st – BRA – Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze – 68 points
2nd – USA – Stephanie Roble & Margaret Shea – 77 points
3rd – NOR – Helen Næss & Marie Rønningen – 79 points
Brazil’s double Olympic gold medallists (Rio 2016 & Tokyo 2020(21), Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, took gold, but it was not all plain sailing as the wind dropped.
They led by nine points from the Swedish duo of Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler, who started 9 points behind and needed to beat the Brazilians and put four boats between them. That never looked likely as the Brazilians – who finished sixth in the 10-boat fleet – covered them, and with the Americans (12 points behind at the start) at the back of the fleet.
The Swedes got stuck and finished second to last in ninth and America’s Stephanie Robe and Margaret Shea (three points behind the Swedes at the start) jumped into silver by finishing fifth. They needed to, one more place and they would have been beaten by Norway’s Helene Næss & Marie Rønningen, leaders for the first half of the week, who took full advantage of the race at the back to finish the Medal Race second and take bronze.
Poland confirm second gold
1st – POL – Dominik Buksak & Szymon Wierzbicki – 66 points
2nd – USA – Nevin Snow & Maximiliano Agnese – 93 points
3rd – FRA – Erwan Fisher & Clément Péquin – 94 points
Leading by 17-points overnight, Dominik Buksak and Szymon Wierzbicki had won the gold after two minutes after one of the French boats were judge OCS at the start, meaning they could not be beaten.
But behind them a battle for silver raged and USA’s Nevin Snow and Maximiliano Agnello prevailed in their match race at the back of the fleet with France’s Erwan Fischer and Clement Pequin, who took bronze.
Kitefoil (men’s and women’s foiling kitesurfing)
1st – SGP – Maximilian Maeder
2nd – FRA – Axel Mazella
3rd – FRA – Maxime Nocher
Singapore’s 15-year-old European champion, Maximilian Maeder, underlined his dominance this week by watching the semi-finals and then blasting off the start in the first race of the final and getting the one win he needed to take gold. He left the best in the world – the French elite, on their home waters – standing. France’s Alex Mazella, who had been a slightly distant second all week, stayed there in the final to take silver with fellow Frenchman, Maxime Nocher jumped from fourth to take bronze.
1st – USA – Daniela Moroz
2nd – FRA – Lauriane Nolot
3rd – GBR – Ellie Aldridge
It was the same story in the women’s but it was the vastly experienced Daniela Moroz, USA’s five-time and reigning world champion, doing the dominating. She too just need one race in the final to take gold.
France’s Laurianne Nolot took silver and Britain’s Ellie Aldridge jumped up into bronze from fourth.
470 (mixed double-handed dinghy)
1st – SWE- Anton Dahlberg & Lovisa Karlsson – 35 points
2nd – FRA – Hippolyte Machetti & Aloïse Retornaz – 42 points
3rd – GER – Luise Wanser & Philipp Antenrieth – 51 points
Swedes win nail-biter on the last leg
Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg (silver in the Tokyo Olympics last year) and Lovisa Karlsson took gold in tense Medal Race. They had led France’s Hippolyte Machetti and Aloise Retornaz by three points and were at opposite ends of the 10-boat fleet after the first upwind leg. They reeled in the French but only passed them – with many boats complicating things around them – halfway through the last downwind and fought all the way to the line.
Austria’s Lara Vadlau and Lukas Mahr started in third, seven points behind the Swedes and trying to gain an edge were judged to have crossed the startline too early and were disqualified. That allowed Germany’s Luise Wanser & Philipp Autenrieth, after a disastrous Friday, to just edge four other boats for bronze.
Nacra 17 (mixed double-handed hydrofoil catamaran)
Italian duo complete domination
1st – ITA – Ruggero Tita & Caterina Banti – 36 points
2nd – GBR – John Gimson & Anna Burnet – 54 points
3rd – FIN – Sinem Kurtey & Akseli Keskinen – 72 points
Italy’s Olympic champions, Ruggero Tita & Caterina Banti, won gold as expected having dominated all week and taking a 14-point lead into the Medal Race.
It was the same podium as Palma, but with the silver and bronze reversed as Britain’s John Gimson & Anna Burnet took silver, after being carefully covered by the Italians, who were taking no chances, all the way round. That too was expected as they had a 16-point lead over Finland’s Sinem Kurtbay and Akseli Kiskenin, who had a guaranteed bronze, going into the race.
iQFOiL (men’s & women’s – new Olympic windsurfing class)
With the wind dropping off in the afternoon the Final Series was cancelled and medals awarded on the leaderboard from the first five days. Given the dominance of the two French leaders there could be no complaint for the gold medals.
1st – FRA – Nicolas Goyard – 15 points
2nd – FRA – Clément Bourgeois – 44 points
3rd – GER – Sebastian Koerdel – 46 points
France’s World and European champion, Nicolas Goyard, had been completely dominant all week winning his last 11 races.
1st – FRA – Hélène Noesmoen – 12 points
2nd – POL – Maja Dziarnowska – 36 points
3rd – FRA – Delphine Cousin – 53 points
Hélène Noesmoen, had been as dominant as her compatriot and fellow World and European champion, Goyard, with 12 wins out of 16 this week