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40th edition Lake Garda Optimist Meeting

by Elena Giolai 19 Apr 03:32 PDT 14-17 April 2022

A truly memorable edition of the Garda Optimist Meeting, an event organised by Fraglia Vela Riva on behalf of the Italian Sailing Federation, which was already certified Guinness World Records in 2012, has come to an end, as it should have been for the fortieth year since its inception.

A return to exceptional numbers with almost 1100 children in the regatta and many, many families in tow and also a return to the original format and therefore organised during Easter week. There was great satisfaction with the success of the event both on the water - the programme was adhered to in the 10 races for the juniors (6 qualifying races and 4 finals) and 8 for the cadets - and on land, with many side events to entertain and inform not only the participants but also the entire population of Riva del Garda, who also had the opportunity to follow some round tables on cultural and eco-sustainable topics.

The weather and wind conditions were always excellent and on the last day even quite challenging with a strong southerly wind (over 20 knots) fed by the "bora" in the North Adriatic sea and consequently with short and high waves, which highlighted the incredible abilities of the very young participants of the Optimist class. Thirty-five nations and 1100 participants for almost a week put a smile on the faces of those who believe in sport as a tool for growth and education.

From a sporting point of view, this was a Ukrainian edition, as two Ukrainian athletes won in the junior category(male and female): Sviatoslav Madonich, the Ukrainian athlete who had won the Residence Centro Vela Country Cup on Wednesday as his country's representative, won the crowded junior category with a 35-point lead over the second placed athlete, Alessandro Cirinei, World Team Champion with Italy at the 2021 World Championship in Riva del Garda, who made a great comeback in the last two days. Third step of the podium for the Swede Levi Bernhardtz, even if he is many points behind (63 from the Ukrainian). Erik Scheidt, bearer of Fraglia Vela Riva, finished in sixth place overall The Ukrainian team also dominated among the women, with a very good Alina Shapovalova, eighth overall and protagonist of one first and two second places; silver for Anna Avanzini and bronze for the Fraglia Vela Riva athlete Victoria Demurtas, sixteenth overall.

Among the very young cadets, the last two races have changed the top of the ranking: Filippo Noto (Società Canottieri Marsala) won both races of the last day with detachment, thus managing to overtake Antonino Mortillaro (VelaClub Palermo), leader until the penultimate day and still finished on the second step of the podium. Vittoria Berteotti (daughter of Fraglia Vela Riva's coach Mauro), with partials always within the top-ten, finished in an excellent third place overall, winning among the girls, despite a technical problem and the consequent withdrawal in the last race. Second place for Mia Paoletti and third for Ginevra Rovaglia.

There was great celebration at the prize-giving ceremony with flags from every country waving, including the Ukrainian flag with the personalised message "no war". The Garda Optimist Meeting is still an event where the value of brotherhood and respect for the opponent remain paramount, as is well represented by the event logo in which children from different ethnic groups are standing in a circle holding hands. The organisation of Fraglia Vela Riva, together with many associations, volunteers, members and the Italian Sailing Federation, succeeded in celebrating the fortieth edition in the best possible way, with a series of events, including cultural and environmental ones, that enhanced the value of sailing, the territory and sport at 360 degrees. Great work by the staff on the water, who, with the wave and the strong wind on the last day, had to manage the electric buoys with virtual GPS anchorage, which were naturally very stressed by the particular conditions. The regatta season on Garda Trentino is now in turbo mode with a series of national and international events hosted by all the clubs of the North Lake Garda area.

Final results available here.

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