The 2015 Para-Sailing World Championships have just concluded in Melbourne, Australia where four New Zealand Paralympic campaign crews were racing across each of the three Paralympic events.
The regatta provided nations not yet qualified for the Rio 2016 Paralympics the last opportunity to earn national qualification, and New Zealand has now secured the right to send a boat to Brazil in all three Paralympic events.
The best placed New Zealand crew in Melbourne was Rick Dodson, Chris Sharp and Andrew May, (known as Kiwi Gold Sailing) in the three person Sonar event. They finished 8th overall in the fleet of 18 boats. With four top five race finishes in the eleven race series the kiwi boat, named Maserati, finished one point off seventh place.
“Today we ticked the box to qualify the Sonar class for the Paralympics in Rio next year,” reports Dodson. “We still require selection to compete in Rio by Yachting New Zeland and Paralympic NZ selectors.”
“The team had a great regatta mixing it with legends of Paralympic sailing and feel chuffed we were capable of tussling it out amongst the best in the World.”
“Everyone in front and around us has either won a World Championship or Paralympic medal in the past. The Germans who finished in 10th position, two places behind us won the Silver at the Paralympics in London.”
“We're now looking forward to the ISAF World Cup also being held in Melbourne next week.”
In the SKUD18 Tim Dempsey and Gemma Fletcher were the best placed of two New Zealand crews in the 17-boat fleet, finishing the series in 12th overall. Paul Webber and Amanda Beaver finished 15th.
London 2012 Paralympian Paul Francis was competing in the 2.4m single-handed class and he wrapped up the regatta in 21st place.
National qualification is a key milestone for all sailors aiming to compete at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The next goal for them will be to convince the selectors that they have met the Yachting New Zealand nomination criteria, by demonstrating that they are capable of winning a Paralympic medal in Rio next year.
The New Zealand crews will stay on in Melbourne to compete in the up-coming 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne Regatta where racing in the Paralympic classes gets underway on Wednesday December 9th running until Saturday December 12th.
2015 Para World Sailing Championships
8th Rick Dodson, Chris Sharp and Andrew May (Sonar)
12th Tim Dempsey and Gemma Fletcher (Skud18)
15th Paul Webber and Amanda Beaver (Skud18)
21st Paul Francis (2.4m)
Full results here.
Thirteen nations have qualified for places at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition following the Para World Sailing Championships being held out of the Royal Yacht Club of Victoria in Williamstown, Melbourne, Australia.
Seven One-Person Keelboat (2.4mR) spots, five Two-Person Keelboat (SKUD18) places and six Three-Person Keelboat (Sonar) slots were allocated to the following nations at the 2015 Para World Sailing Championships:
One-Person Keelboat - 2.4mR
Two-Person Keelboat - SKUD18
Three-Person Keelboat - Sonar
National Paralympic Committees have until 1 March 2016 to confirm the qualification slots they will use. Any unused slots will be reallocated by 1 April 2016.
Story courtesy of Yachting New Zealand.