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iQFoil European Championships: the first 10 to advance to Sunday's medal series have been decided

by Elena Giolai 21 May 16:53 PDT
iQFoil European Championships at Lake Garda - Day 5 © Elena Giolai

Decided with four more slalom races the first ten athletes who will compete on Sunday in the "Medal Series" finals of the European Championships of the new Olympic class for Paris 2024 iQFoil, organised on Lake Garda, by Circolo Surf Torbole.

It was a long and demanding day for the Race Committee, which had to deal with an inconstant southerly wind on a very hot day, which forced them to move the race course further north, towards the eastern shore to find more wind pressure. Wind that dropped momentarily towards 14:00, with a resumption of intensity around 15:00, which was useful to continue with the men's slalom heats, which, between repeated starts for general recalls and waiting for the wind to strengthen, were delayed compared to the women's category races, which finished fairly quickly.

The event, which began with the qualifying races on Tuesday 17 May, arrived on the eve of the medal series with a decidedly rich programme of races: in all, 10 course races, 8 slaloms and a marathon race were completed, making the Championship truly complete.

The choice of the format with sprint races with a target of 3-4' per heat for the slaloms, course races (technical and tactical in a range of around 15 minutes) and the marathon race in which endurance is enhanced in an hour or so of racing, makes the athletes of the new Olympic class, decidedly complete surfers, a very young foil generation that is constantly improving. Also the choice of the slalom course, down wind, but with a stern side, in addition to the "obligatory" slack gaits, makes the discipline more technical and tactical, with the most important moment certainly at the start, but also with the second stern side, which in certain cases can make the difference.

On Sunday, the athletes from fourth to tenth place will compete in the quarter-finals; the first two will enter the semifinals against the second and third overall. The top two finishers in the semi-finals will race against the first overall, thus deciding the colour of the medal, which for Dutchman Luuc Van Opzeeland and Britain's Emma Wilson, first in the overall standings, is already in the bag.

Men

Unbeatable the Dutchman Luuc Van Opzeeland, who went to the medal series first, with very few mistakes during the nineteen races held (8 slaloms, 10 course races, 1 marathon race worth 2); directly into the semifinals the Frenchman Goyard and the Italian athlete from Circolo Surf Torbole, Nicolò Renna.

In the quarter-finals the Briton Sills, the Israeli Omer, the other Briton Brown, the three other Frenchmen Bourgeois, Mestre, le Coq, and the Dutchman Jan Tak. In terms of numbers, therefore, France was the overwhelming force at the medal series with four athletes, followed by Great Britain and Holland with two, Israel and Italy with one athlete. Paired in the overall standings (21st-22nd) were the top two under-21s with Denmark's Søe, who managed to pass the Dutchman Castelein with a better last day; third was Britain's Hawkins.

Women

Only Great Britain and Israel entered the medal series with two athletes: Emma Wilson remained in the lead and thus already on the podium, and Islay Watson, fourth; for the rest, France and Poland with second and third place thus entered the semi-finals with Hélène Noesmoen and Maja Dziarnowska respectively.

Competing in the quarter-finals will be Mexico's Mariana Aguilar Chavez Peon, Spain's Pilar Lamadrid Trueba, Holland's Sara Wennekes, Israel's Daniela Peleg, Italy's Marta Maggetti and the other Israeli Shahar Tibi. The Cagliari-born, after a difficult start, improved day by day until she earned the medal series.

The other Italian Giorgia Speciale also nibbled away a few positions day by day. After initially settling in over twentieth position, she made up a few points in the last four slaloms to finish in seventeenth place.

Full rankings here

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