World Cup Hyères, the perfect platform for Paralympic preparation
World Champions will be in the 2.4 Norlin OD and Sonar fleets at Sailing
World Cup Hyères as the countdown to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games
The Paralympic Games is just 141 days away and time on the water racing
against rivals is key for medal hopefuls. Hyères is another big step on the
journey to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition with fleet sizes
similar to those at the Games itself. Fleets of 20 and 12 in the 2.4 Norlin
OD and Sonar bears some resemblance to the 16 and 14 that will be seen at Rio
2016, providing the perfect platform for Paralympic preparation.
Sailing World Cup Hyères
Canada's Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes come into Hyères off
the back of an impressive victory at Sailing World Cup Miami at the end of
January. The victory was somewhat of a breakthrough performance for Tingley,
a Beijing 2008 2.4mR gold medallist, as it was his first in the Rio quadrennial.
In fact, his last Sonar gold medal came more than 14 years ago at the IFDS
Disabled Sailing World Championships in 2001. The monkey is off Tingley's
back now and he will want to spearhead his teams form into the remainder of
2016 by picking up where he left off.
The Sailing World Cup Hyères Sonar fleet features some of the most
competitive Paralympic sailors around, all of whom have the capabilities of
reaching the podium.
France's Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary won gold at
the 2013 and 2015 editions of Sailing World Cup Hyères. They were denied gold
at 2014 following a final day protest that resulted in a disqualification,
demoting them to second overall. Their expert knowledge of their own waters
will give them an advantage in 2016.
Great Britain's John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas benefitted
from the French team's disqualification in 2014, taking the title. Mixed
performances at Sailing World Cup Melbourne and Miami have recently followed
after their victory at the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships so they will
be aiming to get back to winning ways.
If form is anything to go by then Australia's Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris
and Russell Boaden are clear favourites in Hyères. A run of ten consecutive
podium finishes and three victories from their last five events ensures their
confidence is sky high.
London 2012 silver medallists Jens Kroker, Robert Prem and Siegmund Mainka
(GER) and bronze medallists Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen
Kristiansen (NOR) will also be among the entrants.
Damien Seguin of France will come into Hyères off the back of four
consecutive victories that includes a world title and 2015 honours in the
French Riviera. Seguin is peaking when it really matters building up to Rio
and it's hard to see who will stop him.
One sailor who has the most recent previous history of doing exactly that is
Heiko Kroeger (GER). The big German was the last sailor to defeat Seguin,
winning gold at the 2014 World Championships and in Hyères in 2014.
The pair will come head to head in just over one week's time, vying for a
London 2012 Paralympic gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR) took Sailing World
Cup Miami honours earlier on this year but the fleet lacked Seguin and
Kroeger. Nonetheless, a win is a win and she has the credentials to overcome
Bjornar Erikstad (NOR), Megan Pascoe (GBR), Matt Bugg (AUS) will also be in
The first of eight races in each fleet will commence at 13:30 on Wednesday 27
April and concluded on Saturday 30 April.
By Daniel Smith, World
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