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A Dutch Treat For Olympic Classes At Allianz Regatta

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  • A Dutch Treat For Olympic Classes At Allianz Regatta

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    The opening day of action of the Allianz Regatta was dominated by the Dutch on home waters as they led the way in four of the six classes in action.

    In fact it was only in the two Formula Kite classes that the home competitors were denied, with a strong French showing.





    Perhaps the standout performance for Dutch fans in the Allianz Regatta came in the iQFOiL Men, where Luuc van Opzeeland led a Dutch 1-2-3 through four heats.

    The 2022 world silver medallist won three of the four heats, coming second in the other, to lead compatriot Huig-Jan Tak by six points.

    The Olympic champion, Kiran Badloe, is a point further back, finishing the day with a win and a second place after a slow start in the opening two heats.

    Similarly impressive in the 49er class were reigning world champions Bart Lambriex and Floris van der Werken, who won all three heats on day one. That was enough to open up a three-point lead on Austrians Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl.




    Marit Bouwmeester wrapped up victory with a day to spare in the ILCA 6 in the World Cup opener in Palma, and made a strong start again here.

    She is level with teammate Maxime Jonker after two heats, Bouwmeester avenging second place in the opener by winning the second with the pair on three points each, five clear of Australia’s Sylvie Stannage.



    And rounding off the Dutch success in the ILCA 7 was Duko Bos, who won the opening heat and followed that up with a second-place finish to sit two points clear of Valtteri Uusitalo (FIN), with Alessio Spadoni (ITA) a point further back.

    France lead the way in the kites

    The only exception to the strong home showing came in the Formula Kite, where French athletes dominated, as they did in Palma.

    Axel Mazella won all four of his heats in the blue fleet in the Formula Kite Men, a feat that was almost matched by China’s Qibin Huang in the yellow fleet, as he took three wins and a second.

    In the Formula Kite Women, Poema Newland (FRA) did not start the opening heat before responding with three wins in a row to lead by four points from Spain’s Gisela Borrell.



    Annelous Lammerts (NED) was the only other person to win a heat, taking the opener, but sits fourth on 11 points, with Gal Zukerman (ISR) in third on nine.

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    There is no hiding it, if there is one year to work for the Dutch Water Sports Association, it is unquestionably 2023.
    Arno van Gerven, the CEO of the organisation, readily admits it as he oversees the Allianz Regatta, part of the Dutch Water Week.



    This second leg of the Sailing World Cup is a major event in its own right but is also serving as a tantalising glimpse at what is to come later this year when The Hague hosts the Allianz Sailing World Championships.

    And for Van Gerven, this is the chance to show the world, but especially those closest to home, why sailing is so special.

    “We started the summer of sailing last week in the Netherlands, I think we will be the capital of sailing this year,” he said.

    “It makes us proud; it makes us busy as well. The Allianz Sailing World Championships is a big event, so we are looking forward to that.

    “It is the year that you want to work for the Dutch association. It’s a year you can only dream about, so you want to make the most of it. Events are a party on their own, but we want to use the event for the promotion of the sport, we want to show the beauty that the sport has to offer to the whole world, but especially to our own country.

    “We want the top sailing every year in the Netherlands. That is part of the legacy, we want to inspire the next generations. Water is everywhere in the Netherlands but water sports are quite unknown, so we want to inspire and show the world what it is all about. That is the legacy we need.”

    And for Van Gerven, this is the chance to show the world, but especially those closest to home, why sailing is so special.

    “We started the summer of sailing last week in the Netherlands, I think we will be the capital of sailing this year,” he said.

    “It makes us proud; it makes us busy as well. The Allianz Sailing World Championships is a big event, so we are looking forward to that.

    “It is the year that you want to work for the Dutch association. It’s a year you can only dream about, so you want to make the most of it. Events are a party on their own, but we want to use the event for the promotion of the sport, we want to show the beauty that the sport has to offer to the whole world, but especially to our own country.

    “We want the top sailing every year in the Netherlands. That is part of the legacy, we want to inspire the next generations. Water is everywhere in the Netherlands but water sports are quite unknown, so we want to inspire and show the world what it is all about. That is the legacy we need.”

    There is plenty of ambition on show from Van Gerven and his team, but they are backing those words up with actions in a bid to build the reputation of the Allianz Regatta.

    ************************************************** **********


    The first of two major sailing regattas in Dutch waters begins in Almere and Lelystad this week with the Allianz Regatta – the second Sailing World Cup of the season. Two months out from the World Championships in The Hague, there will be six classes competing from 31 May to 4 June.


    Second of two World Cup Series regattas in the 2023 season

    280 athletes competing, representing 44 nations

    Olympic champions competing, including home duo Marit Bouwmeester and Kiran Badloe
    There will be a total of 280 athletes from 44 countries participating in the event, which is part of Dutch Water Week, being overseen by Arno van Gerven, the CEO of Dutch National Watersports.

    As well as the high quality of sailing expected all week, there has also been a focus on improved sustainability and quality of water with all additional power supplies run on hydrogen generators, while there has been an increase in the number of robot buoys that use GPS technology to stay in position.

    Van Gerven also explained that the introduction of an international race director (or Principal Race Officer, PRO) for the first time should have a huge impact of the quality of race management.

    He said: “David Brookes comes from Australia and is directing all the race courses this year. Then we also have a representative of that PRO at each track.

    “This is what all coaches have been asking for, for a long time and what we have now realised together with World Sailing. This should also become the new standard for all World Cup races. In short, we are doing the maximum as a sport to get it right.”

    Here’s a rundown of the six events set to be contested over the coming week:



    49er

    The 49er class looks particularly open following the retirement of Olympic champions Stuart Bithell and Dylan Fletcher from GB, with Kiwi silver medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke focused on the America’s Cup.

    It was another pair of New Zealanders who were victorious in the World Cup opener in Palma, Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn, but they will also be missing in the Netherlands.

    Therefore, Palma silver medallists Tom Burton, Laser Olympic champion in Rio, and his crew Max Paul (AUS) look like the combination to beat.

    Among those who will be looking to get the better of them are Danish pair Daniel Nyborg and Nikolaj Hoffman Buhl, who are targeting a place in the medal race as they ramp up preparations for the World Championships.

    Nyborg said: “It looks like it’s going to be a lot of wind at the beginning of the week which sounds good to us. We want to put things together and hopefully end up in the medal race.”



    Formula Kite Men

    The standout performer at the 52 Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mallorca Iberostar in Palma was Singapore’s Maximilian Maeder, who will be absent in the Netherlands this week.

    But there will be no lack of high-quality competition even without the teenager. Reigning world champion Toni Vodisek of Slovenia, who pipped Maeder in 2022, will be looking to bounce back after finishing sixth in Palma.

    But he will have to overcome podium pair Connor Bainbridge and Axel Mazella, the Brit and Frenchman finishing second and third respectively last month.



    Formula Kite Women

    Having already scooped gold in Palma in April, France’s Lauriane Nolot will be keen to make it two wins from two in the Netherlands.

    With the class set to make its Olympic debut at Paris 2024, Nolot is building up an impressive collection of titles, as the reigning European champion as well as being the 2022 world runner-up.

    Compatriot Poema Newland, who finished third in Palma, could provide stiff competition for Nolot.



    ILCA 6
    Marit Bouwmeester was the class of the field in the ILCA 6 in Palma and will be eager to back that up on home waters.

    The 2017 World Sailor of the Year, who won Olympic gold in Rio in the Laser Radial, marked her return from a maternity break with a dominant victory in Palma, clinching gold with a day to spare.

    Her teammate Maxime Jonker scooped bronze and will be one of the main challengers to Bouwmeester.



    ILCA 7
    The ILCA 7 is another class that looks particularly open, with Duko Bos and Niels Brokhuizen (NED) among those who will be hoping to impress.

    Portugal’s Eduardo Marques and Ireland’s Ewan McMahon are others who could be in contention.

    McMahon said: “I’m really looking forward to the racing. I think this will be a really good regatta into the lead-up to the summer and the Sailing World Championships in The Hague later this year.”



    iQFOiL Men
    There will be huge Dutch interest in the iQFOil Men where Olympic champion Kiran Badloe will be keen to make amends for finishing just 19th in Palma.

    As well as his Olympic title in the RS:X, Badloe won a hat-trick of world titles from 2019 to 2021, and has the chance to make a statement here.

    He missed the 2022 World Championships, with Dutch pair Luuc Opzeeland and Huig Jan Tak scooping silver and bronze medals respectively in his absence.

    They will now be among the main challengers to Badloe at the Allianz Regatta.
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