Olympic and world champion at the start
Within only nine days the participant lists in eight classes were closed and the organizers had to readjust the maximum number of starter places in the classes. The international sailing world is counting on the postponed Kieler Woche (September 5 to 13, 2020). Apart from the junior classes 29er (Eurocup) and Laser 4.7, the Olympic classes are particularly popular.
"We did not necessarily expect this speed, but we hoped for it. It underlines the fact that the athletes are looking forward to the regatta in Kiel and want to be part of the Kieler Woche. It is a great acknowledgement for Kieler Woche", says Organization Director Dirk Ramhorst. But just as great as the joy is the awareness of the responsibility for the athletes and organizers in times of the Corona pandemic.
"We will not make any compromises when planning the sailing competitions. For example, we will stick to existing upper limits on the number of participants and also comply with regulations such as hygiene regulations and distance rules. And, of course, we will take a very critical look at the status of the international participants in their countries of origin," says Ramhorst.
Not only the quantity speaks for Kieler Woche 2020, but also the quality. Olympic medal winners, world champions and Kieler Woche winners from 2019 have registered. The top ten of the 2016 Olympic Games (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) and the most recent World Championships in the Olympic classes will receive entry wildcards.
The strongest field is the class of the Laser Radial. The complete top ten of the World Championships 2020 in the Olympic one-handed class for women is at the starting line. Also the three medal winners from Rio Olympics.
Foremost the Olympic champion of 2016 and reigning world champion Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands. As at the World Championships in Australia earlier this year, Bouwmeester will meet her compatriot and World Championship runner-up Maxime Jonker, the Norwegian Line Flem Höst, and Anne-Marie Rindom from Denmark. The Dane won the Kieler Woche in 2018 and won the bronze medal ahead of Brazil at the Olympic Games.
Also last year’s winner of Kieler Woche and Olympic and World Championship 6th, Josefin Olsson from Sweden, is certainly among the candidates for the Kieler Woche victory. The 2016 silver medalist Annalise Murphy (Ireland) and the Olympic fifth placed from Finland Tuula Tenkanen complete the field of favorites.
It is a perfect line up for the German hope Svenja Weger. The sailor from Berlin has secured the ticket for Germany to the Games in Japan and with her 13th place at the World Championships she has underlined that she has top ten chances. The 2014 European Champion celebrates her 27th birthday one day before Kieler Woche and can give herself the best birthday present.
In the Laser, reigning World Champion Philipp Buhl (Kiel, Norddeutscher Regattaverein) will be up against the Olympic silver medallist and World Championship third, Tonic Stipanovic (Croatia), Olympic seventh-placer Pavlos Kontides from Cyprus, Olympic eighth-placer Juan Ignacio Maegli from Guatemala and sailing legend Robert Scheidt. The Brazilian has already entered the Kieler Woche winner’s list of Laser sailors three times and is one of the regular guests in the capital of Schleswig-Holstein. Two Olympic gold medals (1996 and 2004), two silver medals (2000 and 2008) and one bronze medal (2012) as well as nine world championship titles in Laser and two in star are part of the trophy collection of the two-time World Sailor of the Year. Scheidt proved at the 2016 Olympics that the 47-year-old is not yet out of the woods with his fourth place. The Brazilian missed the leap onto the podium by a whole four points.
On the other side of the age pyramid of Laser sailors in Kiel is Julian Hoffmann. The 18-year-old young sailor of the year (2018) comes from the Club SC Alpsee Immenstadt, as well as Philipp Buhl and follows the traces of his role model. 2019 Hoffmann sailed to first place in the Radial at the youth event before Kieler Woche, the Young Europaens Sailing, and finished eleventh at the Youth Worlds for Germany. Now the Bavarian is competing for the first time in the Laser Standard in Kiel and is measuring himself against the big names and a total of 119 competitors in the Olympic class. 141 are on the entry list.
The reigning world champions from Great Britain John Gimson/Anna Burnet and the gold medalists from Brazil Santiago Lange/Cecilia Carranza Saroli (wildcard) are entered in the Nacra 17. These two top crews, the French Quentin Delapierre/Manon Audinet (World Championship fourth-place.), the Italian duo Vittorio Bissaro/Maelle Frascari (Olympic and World Championship fifth-place), the World Championship eights Lin Cenholt/Christian Peter Lübeck from Denmark, the World Championship ninths Sinem Kurtbay/Akseli Keskinen from Finland as well as the Kieler Woche titleholders and Olympic bronze medalists Thomas Zach/Barbara Mats (Austria) should do everything in their power to make life difficult for the German team Paul Kohlhoff/Alica Stuhlemmer (Kieler Yacht-Club).
Kohlhoff, who was able to hoard with Caro Werner Kieler Woche in 2015 and 2016, would like to put his money on it in the "pre-Olympic" year. The 26-year-old sports soldier was the youngest in the German Olympic team in 2016. With his new crew Alica Stuhlemmer, he secured the German national place for the Tokio Olympics at the beginning of the year with rank eleven and is now taking his second Olympic attempt.
In the 49er the German hopes rest on the World Championship third Erik Heil/Thomas Plößel. The bronze medalists of Rio have underlined their ambitions for titles ahead of Australia after one year’s break. In front of Kiel, the sailors from the Norddeutscher Regattaverein will compete with the reigning runners-up Diego Botin/Iago Lopez Marra (Spain/Olympic Ninth), the Olympic fourth and World Cup 7th, Jonas Warrer/Jacob Precht Jensen from Denmark, the World Cup fourth from Austria, Benjamin Bildstein/David Hussl, the World Cup 10th.
Sime and Mihovil Fantela (Croatia) and the young German hopeful Tim Fischer, who together with his former crew member Fabian Graf (both Kiel), secured the German ticket for Japan in third place at the 2018 World Championships ahead of Aarhus (Denmark).
In the 49er FX the Kieler Woche titleholders Victoria Jurczok/Anika Lorenz from Berlin (WM/ fifths) will meet the World Champions of the previous year, Annemieke Bekkering/Annette Duetz. The team from the Netherlands had to settle for eighth place at this year’s World Championship. Among the other favorites also the French Lili Sebesi/Albane Dubois, who finished fourth at the World Championships in spring, participate. Always good for titles at the home waters are Tina Lutz/Susann Beucke. They won the Kieler Woche in 2013 and 2016.
Together with Jurczok/Lorenz, who ranked ninth at the 2016 Games and sailed to the podium with third place at the 2016 World Championships and the 2017 European Championships, the Bavarian-North German crew is still fighting for the one ticket to the 2021 Olympic Games, their third attempt.
The reigning World Champions Tamara Echegoyen/Paula Barcelo from Spain reported 61st and would be number 1 on the waiting list.
Tamara Echegoyen had missed out bronze by two points with her crew Berta Betanzos in front of Rio. Like the gold medalists Martine Grael/Kahena Kunze from Brazil and the World Championship bronze medalists Stephanie Roble/Maggie Shea (USA), will benefit from the wildcard.
In Olympic Finland, Max Kohlhoff (KYC) will meet Jorge Zarif (Brazil/Olympic 4.), Max Salminen (Sweden/Olympic 6.) and Jake Lilley (Australia/WC 8.).
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