- Published: 11 March 2016
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Thunderstorms, rainfall and a chill in the air, Abu Dhabi isn’t usually like this, but competition for ASAF Asian Championships 2016 honours and Rio 2016 Olympic spots are keeping the temperatures on Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club hot.
ASAF Asian Championships 2016 acts as the Olympic continental qualification regatta for sailors from Asia. Qualify here, you’ll be representing your country on the grandest of stages, miss out, it’s the end of the road.
Competitiveness from the front to the back of each fleet has been evident and every sailor has something to fight for. Whether it’s the coveted Rio spot, an ASAF Asian Championships 2016 honour, striving to perfect their game, it’s all on in Abu Dhabi.
Sailors did not have to wait for racing on Friday as the sea breeze materialised early today and it enabled the sailors to commence racing at 13:20 local time in conditions that ranged from 08-12 knots from the north.
Laser and Laser Radial
A very fluid weather pattern (in more ways than one) made for a challenging, had resulted in the Laser and Laser Radial fleets having to wait onshore and only 4races could be completed till yesterday.
It was also little shifty and, w ith the visibility reduced, tough for the sailors to formulate a plan of attack.
Kamolwan Chanyim (THA) has sailed the most consistent series till now, having won six of the seven races sailed thus far. On her being assured of Rio 2016 qualification, she said “I don’t really know what to say,” she said with a laugh. Continuing further, she added, “I wanted to quit sailing after not making the qualification at the previous qualifiers, but I have worked hard for this day and yes, it is very satisfying.”
Nur Shazrin Mohamad Latif (MAS), who has couple of Optimist Asian and World Championship Medals under her belt, is currently in the second position and also almost assured of Rio 2016 spot.
Laser sailor Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy (MAS) has sailed a nearly flawless qualifying series, is currently first overall. “I have had a solid week, I worked hard for this and I am happy to be able to win a qualification spot for Rio 2016 for Malaysia. It’s good to sail in front”, he said summing up.
Keerati Bualong (THA) maintains his second spot, after seven races and goes into the medal race tomorrow, confident of qualifying for the Rio 2016. “The first few races I had bad starts and it was difficult conditions, it was shifty and light, and I just made bad decisions at the beginning of the race,” he said. “I knew I had the speed to do better and the ability to do better. From the third day I started to sail more with the fleet, more consistent, better starts.
Shinnosuke Yasuda (JPN) has moved into third in the overall standings, after making a second position finish today. “I didn’t have a really solid plan for the day,” said Shinnosuke Yasuda (JPN). “I just say, ‘OK, let’s sail and watch; what you see is what you get.’ I just sailed clean, sailed a solid race. I’m really happy about that.”
49er and 49erFX
Three race in the 49er and 49erFX were completed today.
Race wins went the way of Musab Al Hadi and Hashim Al Rashdi (OMA) in 49er in race number 5 and 6. Whilst, the Whitcraft brothers Don and Dylan (THA) haven’t made things easy on themselves in their battle against India’s Ganapathy and Varun for the second spot. A disastrous start and up and down results gave the Indian’s the advantage today.
It is not yet over and tomorrow’s medal will be interesting as anything can happen.
Men’s and Women’s RS:X
Cho Wonwoo (KOR) remains rock steady at the top, having won five of the eight races sailed and is almost assured of the Rio 2016 qualification. The real battle for the second qualification spot will be between N Phonoppharat (THA) and Michael Chang (HKG) as only 3 points separate them before the medal race tomorrow.
In the RS:X Women, Siripon Kaewduangngam (THA) leads the pack, with Sin Lam Lo (HKG) riding close. The battle for the one Rio 2016 qualification spot will continue till the medal race tomorrow morning.
Medal races are scheduled on Saturday 12 March at 12:00 local time.