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Rio 2016 - Swiss 49er Grab Final Rio Berth - 49erFX Still Uncertain

by Ben Remocker, on 27 Jun 2016
Sebastien Schneiter and Lucien Cujean - 49er Worlds Florida 2016 Jen Edney
It was a day to remember for Sebastien Schneiter and Lucien Cujean of Switzerland who claim the final berth for the 2016 Olympic games and will be competing in Rio. Sebastien was delighted posting, “Who would have thought so two years ago when I quit my little Laser Radial to jump in this crazy boat that is the 49er!”

The duo will be some of the youngest sailors to ever race 49er in the Olympics as Sebastien placed third at the 2013 youth worlds in the radial. They have been consistently mid silver fleet to date in their career and will no doubt be looking for a great Olympic experience to take forward into a campaign for 2020.

After the Swedish Olympic Committee denied their sailors a chance in Rio, the berth fell to Canada on the basis that they were the next highest placing country at the 2015 World Championship not yet qualified. Sail Canada also opted to reject the berth, deciding that none of their 49er teams met their internal standards. Therefore, the berth went to the next best placed team from the 2015 World Championship, the Swiss, who snapped it up.

Olympic qualifying is now complete in the 49er, with the following line up heading down:

Host Nation
Brazil – Marco Grael and Gabriel Borges

2014 Santander Worlds Qualifiers
New Zealand – Peter Burling and Blair Tuke
Demark – Jonas Warrer and CP Lubeck
Australia – Nathan Outteridge & Iain Jensen
Austria – Nico Delle Karth & Niko Resch
Portugal – Jorge Lima & Jose Costa
Great Britain – Dylan Fletcher & Alaign Sign
Ireland – Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern
France – Julien D’Ortoli& Noe Delpech
Spain – Diego Botin & Iago Mara
Italy – Ruggi Tita and Giacomo Cavalli

2015 Worlds Qualifiers
Poland – Lukasz Przybytek & Pawel Kolodzinski
Argentina – Yago and Claus Lange
Germany – Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel

Continental Qualifiers
Croatia – Pavel Kostov and Petar Cupac (this spot would have gone to Oceania but there were no entries)
North America – USA – Tom Barrows & Joe Morris
South America – Chile – Grez Brothers
Asia – Japan – Yukio Makino and Kenji Takahashi
Belgium – Yannick Lefebre & Tom Paelsmaker (this spot would have gone to Africa but there were no entries)
Europe – SUI – Sebastien Schneiter & Lucean Cujean (this spot was won by Sweden but they did not accept)

The competition in Rio will be hot, with odds on favorites Peter Burling and Blair Tuke on everybodies radar. Rio is notoriously tricky, there are all sorts of distractions both on and off the water, and it’s likely the event may end up short of races. The most sure fire bet ever in 49er sailing is much more precarious than most realize!

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) have been on a roll of late, winning the latest act of the America’s Cup and back consistently on the podium of 49er events they enter. The chasing bunch includes a post Olympic gold medalist (DEN), two top Europeans at the last two European championships (GER and ESP), and two medalists from the most recent 49er World Championship (AUT and GBR). Rounding out the other contenders are young guns Yago and Klaus Lange (ARG), light air specialists from POR and FRA, the Polish duo of Lukasz and Pawel who seem to always be just off the podium, and the mercurial Irish, who are able to break onto the podium every now and then.

49erFX still up in the air
The Australian federation is still holding onto the final 49erFX Olympic berth despite publicly saying they will not send a 49erFX team to Rio. Tess Lloyd and Caitlin Elks have taken their case to the court of Arbitration for sport in order to win a final appeal to go to Rio. A massive facebook page and petition have been launched to support their fight against their MNA. If they fail in their appeal the berth will go to the Croatian team.

Update: Caitlyn and Tess will have heard CAS hearing on Monday, June 27th. We have also learned that if Croatia is offered the spot they will turn it down, and then Austria would be next in line.

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