Israeli athletes in the driving seat at the end of the first day of the RS:X Youth World Championships
The first day of racing of the RS:X Youth World Championships took place on August 6. Racing took place in the water zone of the Neva Bay and nearby, in the Park of the 300th anniversary of St. Petersburg, there is a racing village for them and the guests of the event.
On Tuesday, the Northern Capital delivered up perfect windsurfing conditions and the 104 competitors were greeted with bothsun and win, an ideal combination for windsurfing. Westerly wind of 12-15 knots allowed the racers to plane and to show the impressive speed of the RS:X. The first race lasted for only 24 minutes. Thanks to the perfect weather conditions, all of the three scheduled races were held (one-half of the qualification).
“The day was fruitful thanks to the wind in this water area,” says Vladimir Komel, the Principle Race Officer of the competition. “When we reached the racing zone, we had only six knots, but then the wind increased and gained very decent strength. We, the judges, soon got cold on the water, because of the wind, however, the atheletes were competing completely exhausted. When we were looking at them, we felt a little sorry for them having to do all of the work”.
At the end of three races, the results were full of surprises. The main sensation is the shock results of the current boys world champion Fabien Pianazza. The French athlete won all the last major events – the RS:X Youth World Championship 2018, the RS:X Youth European Championship 2019 and the World Sailing Youth Championship 2019, but in St. Petersburg he seemed to get off on the wrong foot. In the first race, Pianazza was seventh, and in the second he was disqualified. Only in the third race did Pianazza recover enough from the day to finish first. According to the results at the end of the first day, the defending champion is in 28th place overall and with a mountain to climb.
Instead it is compatriot Yun Pouliquen from France who leads the boys fleet ahead of a chasing trio of Israelis. Puliquen scored an improving third, second and first to lead the fleet with 6 points overall. Close on his tail are Riuven Hillel (seven points), Eyal Yohay Zror (eight points) and Daniel Basik Tashtash (nine points). In April, Hillel was eighth at the RS:X Youth European Championship. This is the first full-time season for him in the RS:X class at the international level.
“This is a good day for me, but the third race was not very successful,” says Riuven Hillel. “I chose the left side and made a slip. At the beginning of the race I was 13th. Then I worked very hard to make things better and ended up in fifth place. I try to monitor the wind and its strength. In the last race, I felt a strong header from the left side but I did not guess. The main thing is to feel the moment. I have been into windsurfing for all my life. RS:X is an Olympic class. I chose it because I want to take part in the Olympics. It’s my goal”.
Israeli windsurfers have taken a leading position among the girls too. Israeli athletes: Maya Nadler (11 points), Naama Greenberg (12 points) and Linoy Geva (13) took first, second and third places accordingly, locking out the podium for Israel. The best among the Russian girls are Yana Reznikova and Dana Kosyak, who are in fifth and fourteenth places respectively. However the points are all very close and the championship for both the boys and the girls is still very much wide open.
“The Israelis are very tough –but if you are not afraid, then they begin to consider you a serious opponent,” says Dana Kosyak. “They are able to train all year round, because the wind blows every day and they also have a very rigid selection system (it consists of five-six stages in different weather conditions). They need to try very hard to represent Israel at the World Championship or the Europe Championship”.
The organizational information
From five to six qualifying races, the same number of the final ones and the medal round are planned at the Windsurfing RS:X Youth World Championship. In total, there are 13 races preplanned, including the medal one. 104 athletes from 19 countries are divided into three fleets – two fleets for men (35 and 34 athletes in each) and one for girls (35). During the qualification, the composition of the two male fleets is shuffled in random order. At the end of the qualification, the top 35 windsurfers will make up the gold fleet, and the rest silver one.
August 7 – 11:00 start of the first race of the competitions’ day
August 8 – 11:00 start of the first race of the competitions’ day
August 9 – 11:00 start of the first race of the competitions’ day
August 10 – 11:00 start of the first race of the competitions’ day, 18:30 awarding ceremony of the regatta, closing ceremony of the regatta
The official website of the competitions: www.rsxclass.org/youthworlds2019/