For the first time in eleven years Joao Rodrigues has stepped onto the top step of the podium at an Olympic windsurfing class European Championship. He did so in 1996 and 1997 following up his World Championship Gold medal in Port Elizabeth in 1995. By winning in Brest, he has clearly laid his marker down as a serious contender for the forthcoming Olympic Regatta in China.
Second was Julien Bontemps of France and third Przemyslaw Miarczynski of Poland who finally did not have to face the challenge of defending his third place against four contenders within striking distance of his 27 points. That would have been a tough ask for anyone!
Overall the championship was beautifully organized by Les Crocodiles de L’Elorn. The only club in France with two Olympic gold medallists among its alumni. With an entirely carpeted competitors village, giant screen showing streamed video from the water and an army of ever smiling and helpful volunteers, Franch Jaouen, the president of the club, has set a standard that other organizers will have a hard time topping.
From the class’s point of view, this championship has set the seal on an incredible four years. Back in 2004, it did not even exist. Now with the help of Les Crocos, it is well on the way to fully occupying the internet bandwidth with an on line scoring system which handles mark rounding's and live tracking of the medal races; streamed commentary onto the web, video and daily reports. There is more to come!
Britain’s Beijing-bound duo Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw finishing in 20th and eighth place respectively in the men’s and women’s Championships. Shaw will be disappointed not to have had the chance to edge further up the field, with only six points separating her from sixth-place when the decision to cancel the medal race was taken.
Having notched up promising 3-6-3 results from the opening three races, Dempsey’s title hopes came underdone in races four and five when a DNF due to a broken centreboard was followed by an OCS disqualification.