NORTH AMERICAN SAILORS CAPITALIZE AT FINAL OLYMPIC QUALIFICATION EVENT
Sailors from Mexico, Canada, the United States and Trinidad and Tobago battled the elements and the competition at the Sailing World Cup Series in Miami to secure spots at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
The Hempel Sailing World Cup Series welcomed the best sailors from around the globe to compete in the iconic city of Miami from January 20-25. While the event brought together athletes from every continent, the World Cup was the last opportunity to earn Olympic qualification for sailors in North America and the Caribbean.
Only seven Olympic quotas were up for grabs during the event, with only quota per boat class securing passage to Tokyo 2020. Athletes were seeking qualification in the 470 (Men/Women), RS:X (Men/Women), Laser, Laser Radial and Finn disciplines.
The surprise of the World Cup was Mexico, securing three of the seven qualifications to the Olympics in less than six months. Mexico’s athletes earned their country a spot in the Olympics in the Men’s RS:X, Laser Radial and Finn fleets.
Before the final day of competition, Mexico had already claimed their three Olympic quotas with strong performances throughout the start of the event.
Mexico’s Juan Perez Soltero sealed the Finn spot by topping his North American competition in the primary races, finishing sixth overall and third in the medal race.
In the Men’s RS:X, Ignacio Berenguer won the silver medal while also qualifying Mexico and himself to the Olympic Games. Mexico already earned it’s Olympic quota in Women’s RS:X at the World Championships, allowing Demita Vega De Lille to focus on earning the national qualification for Mexico at the event, leading to her gold medal performance on the final day of competition.
In the Laser Radial competition, Mexico’s Elena Oetling dominated her North American competition to secure a third and final Olympic quota for Mexico at the World Cup stop in Miami.
Canada also had great success in Miami, earning qualification to Tokyo 2020 in two disciplines: Women’s RS:X and Men’s 470. In the RS:X, Nikola Girke placed fourth in the final medal race as well as in the overall standings. While Mexico finished first and second in the medal event, their Olympic quota was already earned at the World Championship.
In the Men’s 470 event, Canada’s Jacob Saunders and Oliver Bone led the way to another Olympic qualification, outlasting a tough challenge by the sailors from Mexico throughout the week of competition.
The United States earned their Olympic qualification at the World Cup in the Women’s 470 class, as Carmen and Emma Cowles placed eighth to finish as the top ranked North American team.
Two-time Olympian Andrew Lewis of Trinidad and Tobago also narrowly paved his way to his third Olympic Games in Tokyo in the Laser class, having to fend off five sailors from Canada in the medal race. Lewis finished fourth in the final race to defend the strong challenge from Canada.
Congratulations to all of the sailors from the Americas who qualified to the Olympic Games and earned medals at the Sailing World Cup.