Australians to spearhead SKUD18 pack at Para World Sailing Championships
Fitzgibbon and Tesch at the 2014 World Cup, Melbourne
The 2015 Para World Sailing
Championships will see 142 sailors from 31 nations compete across three
Paralympic events in Williamstown, Melbourne, Australia from 27 November to 3
World Championship titles and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games places are at stake
with racing taking place out of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria. A number of
Paralympic medallists and World Champions make up the starters in the 2.4mR,
SKUD18 and Sonar fleets.
London 2012 Paralympic Games gold medallists Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesel Tesch
(AUS) will spearhead the 18-boat SKUD18 fleet in Melbourne and come into the
event on an unbeaten run. After a short break following London 2012 the pair
were back in the SKUD18 at the 2014 World Championships in Nova Scotia,
Canada where they took their first world title together. Since then, the pair
have been a mainstay at the top of the podium in the last 12 months winning gold
at Sailing World Cup Melbourne and Miami as well as the Delta Lloyd Regatta
in Medemblik, the Netherlands.
Sailing on home waters, holding an unbeaten run, the odds look heavily
stacked in the Australians favour and Tesch remained confident, "Melbourne is one of our
favourite waterways in the world and the event will be another great positive
step in our Paralympic preparation. And no pressure on us as the defending
World Champions…. well, the big target will be on our back after our
Paralympic Gold medal first, then 2014 World Champion and our season so far,
so watch this space.
fantastic to have the Worlds Championships here in Australia and it's quite
an honour to have it on beautiful Port Phillip. It will be the chance for
Australians to have a look at top level, fantastic racing.
"Hopefully we'll get
some fans to come out and see some great Paralympic sailing out here for the
first time. It would be nice to get some Melburnians to come out on the
accessible boats, to come and have a look and hopefully also to get some
Paralympians from other sports out, to come and see one of the best sports.”
Of the 18-teams in Williamstown, just four remain together following the
London 2012 Paralympic Games and that experience could prove vital in
Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) are the most decorated SKUD18
sailors in the fleet and hold five world titles, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and
2013 as well as London 2012 bronze. In recent times they have played second
fiddle to the Australians but in Fitzgibbon and Tesch's backyard, there is no
better arena to beat them on the Road to Rio and they will be up for the
Italy's Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti remain together following London
2012 and will be pushing for the podium. Singapore's Jovin Tan and Desiree
Lim also retain their partnership and whilst they're capable of a podium
finish, Paralympic qualification will be their main focus after they opted
out of sailing at the first qualifier.
At the 2014 World Championships Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Italy and
the United States of America qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing
Competition. As host nation, Brazil are guaranteed a spot on the Rio 2016
meaning that five remaining places are up for grabs at the 2015 Para World
Seven nations head to Melbourne with expectations of taking one of those five
places which will make for an interesting week across the 11 race series.
Paralympic experience from Israel's Zahavi Hagar, New Zealand's Tim Dempsey,
and Malaysia's Nurul Amilin Balawi could play key as they sail with new crews
for the 2015 Worlds but teams from Spain, Netherlands, Poland and the
experienced Singaporeans will ensure a stern test.
The SKUD18 fleet will start racing at 13:00 local time on Saturday 28
November and will conclude racing on Thursday 3 December.
Event website - http://www.foxsportspulse.com/assoc_page.cgi?c=0-10017-0-0-0
About the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships
The Para World Sailing Championships take place out of the Royal Yacht Club of
Victoria in Williamstown, Melbourne, Australia from 24 November to 3 December
2015. As the second and final qualification regatta for the Rio 2016 Paralympic
Sailing Competition, seven spots in the 2.4mR, five in the SKUD18 and six in
the Sonar will be decided in Melbourne. More than 30 countries will be
represented with over 200 sailors and coaches registered for the event. The
Organising Committee estimates that the event will have an economic impact in
the viciny of $7 million for the Victorian and local economies. The Victorian
State Government along with Hobson's Bay City Council are supporting the event.
About the Royal Yacht
Club of Victoria
The Royal Yacht Club Victoria (RYCV) was initially founded as the Port Phillip
Yacht Club in May 1853, and is one of the oldest yacht clubs in Australia. The
Club is situated in Williamstown, Victoria just 13 km away from the centre of
Melbourne, with a stunning view of the city skyline, and is steeped in decades
of yachting history and tradition. Today RYCV boasts more than 900 members and
over 300 yachts on the register making it an ideal club for sailors with all
levels of experience.