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Historical qualification for Sarah Douglas in the Laser Radial Medal Race at Tokyo 2020

by Sail Canada 30 Jul 16:45 PDT
Sarah Douglas in the Laser Radial Medal Race at Tokyo 2020 © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Sarah Douglas will become the first Canadian sailor to take part in the Laser Radial Medal Race and to finish this competition in the top 10 in this class following her qualification for the Medal Race, to be held overnight Saturday into Sunday starting at 2:33am (ET) in Enoshima.

Last night, Sarah Douglas finished the preliminary races in strong fashion with fourth and second place results in the last two contests, which allowed her to move up of four spots, from 8th to 4th position.

Entering the Medal Race with 82 points, Sarah Douglas is now three points behind third place, held by Josefin Olsson (79 points) from Sweden, and 11 points behind Marit Bouwmeester (71 points) from the Netherlands. Anne-Marie Rindom from Denmark still leads the competition with 64 points.

"I can't believe it, I'm at a loss of words," said Sarah Douglas. "Today was really a turning point for me. I went out on the water with no expectations, sticking to the process, and I couldn't be happier with how it went. I put out some good scores and I'm really happy about that. I'm surprised that I was actually able to move up so much in the standings."

"And now, I have a chance to win a medal. No matter what happens, I'm super proud of how I've sailed and what I've accomplished so far. But I'm just going for it, I'm all in at this point."

Historical first for Canada

Sarah Douglas will be the first Canadian to take part in the Medal Race of the Laser Radial class since the introduction of this event to the Olympic Games program in 2008 in Beijing. The best Canadian result in Laser Radial so far was Brenda Bowskill in Rio in 2016 with at 16th-place finish.

Before the Laser Radial, one other single-handed event for women was held at the Olympic Games from 1992 to 2004 inclusively, named Women's Single Handed Dinghy. The best Canadian result was earned by Beth Calkin in 2000 in Sydney, with an 11th-place finish.

This is the first time since the 2012 Olympic Games that Canada has had at least one representative in one of the medal races. Zachary Plavsic, on the men's side, and Nikola Girke, on the women's side, took part in the Medal Race in the RS:X classes in London to finish respectively 8th and 10th.

The first women-only sailing event at the Olympic Games was in Seoul in 1988 with the presentation of the 470 - Two Person Dinghy Women.

The Medal Race

In every Olympic Sailing event, sailors first take part in 10 (Laser, Laser Radial, Finn) or 12 (49er, 49er FX, RS:X, Nacra 17 Foiling) preliminary races. For each of these races, sailors are scored by the position in which they finish (for instance: 1 point is awarded for position 1) for a cumulative ranking. The worst result registered by each competitor/team is discarded.

The top 10 athletes or teams following these preliminary races qualify for the Medal Races, a single race where only the top 10 athletes take part and in which points are doubled.

The sailor with the lowest point total at the end of competition wins the title, as points that they earned during the preliminary races are carried forward with them into the medal race.

More information is available through Sail Canada's website at www.sailing.ca.

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