Bryony Shaw (GBR) converted her outstanding week of racing into ISAF Sailing World Cup Final gold on the final day of racing in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The British racer has been flawless throughout the series and took a 16 point lead into the Medal Race. The Beijing 2008 Olympic bronze medallist put in an assured, astute performance coming through in second to claim the honours.
“I am really pleased that I’ve had such a convincing win here,” said Shaw with a beaming smile. “It’s been a tough year in that I keep missing out on the podiums. I managed to win in Miami back in the beginning of the year. This being the end of the year it’s nice to be back on top of the podium and I hope I can take that momentum into next year.”
Charline Picon (FRA) had an outside chance of taking gold but knew she would have to force Shaw towards the back of the back and take a win. The pair went head to head as Shaw explained, “There was some really shifty and puffy wind on the first beat and I was keeping my eye on the French girl and I matched her every move which was quite fun. The two of us managed to get the best pressure up the first beat and rounded in first and fourth. I was leading the race and then one of the Chinese girls was sailing a good race and overtook me. I then maintained second all the way round and kept the French girl behind me.
“I just went in with a clear strategy and had an eye on my main rival.”
Picon fought hard to catch Shaw but also had to keep an eye on Blanca Manchon (ESP) who was in third and within touching distance. “I had a good battle with Bryony but I had to keep in front of Blanca to keep silver,” said Picon. “I did a good job by doing that at the start and then I attacked Bryony. But she raced well finishing second with me third so she took gold and I took silver.”
The French racer claimed her first world title a few months ago and came into Abu Dhabi with a reduced training schedule. With minimal time on the water she was buoyed by her performance, “Since the Worlds I only had six days of training. Coming here to discover a new country I did some good work at the start but I didn’t race well so silver is okay.”
Manchon completed the podium whilst the Medal Race victory went the way of Manjia Zheng (CHN) who finishes fourth.
Top 10 RS:X WOMEN
1. Bryony Shaw (GBR) – 23 pts.
2. Charline Picon (FRA) – 41 pts.
3. Blanca Manchon (ESP) – 58 pts.
4. Manjia Zheng (CHN) – 62 pts.
5. Hei Man Hayley Victoria Chan (HKG) – 65 pts.
6. Zofia Noceti-Klepacka (POL) – 69 pts.
7. Qiaoshan Weng (CHN) – 80 pts.
8. Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) – 83 pts.
9. Laura Linares (ITA) – 88 pts.
10. Jiahui Wu (CHN) – 89 pts.
Full results …
Louis Giard (FRA) took a single point lead over Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) into the Men’s RS:X Medal Race and did exactly what was needed to claim gold by taking the race victory.
The young Frenchman has excelled in Abu Dhabi and knew he had to beat Kokkalanis across the line to take the honours. He covered Kokkalanis at the start to edge in front and as the race played out he was able to extend. He made it look seamless with a relaxed approach and said, “Maybe that’s the secret. The first day I was like this and it worked very well. Yesterday was difficult for me; I had the yellow jersey so I had some extra pressure on my shoulders. I relaxed today and knew in these conditions I could do something great.
“I am super happy. It’s my first win in the senior fleet so it was a really good day for me. Some of them have some Olympic medals so I tried to have fun and sail well without pressure and enjoy the fact that I am racing in Abu Dhabi. It is a great place and the organisation was perfect. It was a pleasure.”
Kokkalanis came through in third which was enough for silver and he heaped praise on his young competitor after racing, “What can I say? He was really good in this competition. He had one bad day yesterday but today he was really solid. He had a good start and he just had to cover me. That is exactly what he did. He sailed correctly and followed the gusts and he really deserves his gold medal. He was surprisingly good in this competition.
“I feel satisfied to finish the season with one more medal. Having a medal here is really important and I feel happy about it.”
Nick Dempsey sailed astutely to pick up a fifth which gave him bronze.
Top 10 RS:X MEN
1. Louis Giard (FRA) – 28 pts.
2. Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) – 33 pts.
3. Nick Dempsey (GBR) – 46 pts.
4. Aichen Wang (CHN) – 55 pts.
5. Piotr Muszka (POL) – 57 pts.
6. Pawel Tarnowski (POL) – 58 pts.
7. Julien Bontemps (FRA) – 71 pts.
8. Pierre le Coq (FRA) – 74 pts.
9. Toni Wilhelm (GER) – 75 pts.
10. Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) – 94 pts.
Full results …
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Text & Photos by ISAF/RS:X