Riva del Garda, Trentino: Excitement at Riva del Garda on the last day of the World Byte Championships, valid as qualifier for 6 European nations and 2 African for the Youth Olympics in China next August.
The penultimate day of the World Byte Championships, organised by Fraglia Vela Riva in collaboration with the international Byte class and Nautivela, was the windiest yet with gusts reaching to at least 16 knots before it dropped due to some afternoon thunderstorms. Two races were completed out of the three scheduled for today bringing the total to 11 out of the 13 scheduled. Considering the fatigue of the fleet it wasn’t such a bad thing to stop at only two races today, leaving the final battle for an Olympic place till tomorrow morning with the north wind. Races start at 9.00 am.
If the winners of the events in the both the men’s and women’s categories seem to be a forgone conclusion, then the other places on the podium and country qualifiers are all still to play for.
The last two races on Sunday will tactically be very delicate since this will be the first time the competitors will have to race with the north wind, notoriously very gusty, unsettled and very difficult to predict. The scores separating the countries competing for Olympic qualification are extremely tight and it will be a great test of concentration and character for these young boys and girls who are not only competing for themselves but also for their country.
Men’s category – Hungary and Croatia already qualified- another 6 European places, 36 athletes from 24 countries.
Jonatan Vadnai is technically world champion having achieved 8 firsts, two thirds and a fourth, giving him a remarkable 24 point lead over Scipio Houtman of The Netherlands. Seven points behind him was Arvd Nordquist of Sweden (2-3 today). Croat Pavle Zivanovic was fourth just one point ahead of Vittorio Gallinaro of organising club, Fraglia Vela Riva. In the most crucial part he held fast placing two fifths, enough to push him 7 points ahead of his nearest adversary Papadopoulos of Greece who won the last race of the day. Under performing today was the other Italian Umberto Varbaro who had a 15 and a 10 for seventh place overall. Great form from the African nations (their first appearance), with only 4 points separating Algeria, South Africa and Egypt for Olympic qualification.
Men’s rankings after 11 races:
Women’s Category- The Netherlands and Hungary have already qualified- another 6 European places-27 athletes from 18 countries.
Since the first day of competition the event has been dominated by Van Aanholt of The Netherlands always pulling further away from her adversaries. Reclaiming second position is her compatriot Akkerman 12 points behind while Italian Carolina Albano is third 4 points behind and one point ahead of reigning world champion Erdi Maria. The Hungarian had suffered an OCS (false start) at the beginning of the championships and at least one penalty for irregularity in navigation in a race where she was among the leaders. However she once again found her form with a series of races where she finished near the top. She could easily jeopardize the Italian’s chances for a place on the podium. The qualification for the African nations has been left to South Africa and Egypt since the Algerian athlete Ismahene suffered an injury on the water and had to withdraw from the competition.
Women’s Rankings after 11 races: