The tension on the water at ASAF Asian Championship 2016 was fully loaded as Medal Races across the 6 Olympic fleets drew the biggest Asian regatta, to a close. Nine podium finishers from six days of racing in Abu Dhabi will go on to represent their Nations at the Rio 2016 in 145 days’ time, before the flame is lit in Rio de Janeiro on 5 August 2016.
In a week plagued by grey skies and fickle breeze the sun shone brightly in Abu Dhabi but the light winds remained.
Laser and Laser Radial
In the Laser Radial, series leader Kamolwan Chanyim (THA) going into the double points medal race, had a 20 point advantage and a fifth place finish was more than good enough to secure her title. “This is a good stepping stone for my preparations for Rio 2016. It’s busy from now on until the Games. From now onwards I will be training at many events till Rio. It’s a busy calendar from now on.”
Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy (MAS) held a firm advantage before the final Medal race and in true style, won his place on the podium and subsequently, a place amongst those who will be competing at Rio 2016. “I have never had this feeling before,” grinned Afendy, “so I don’t know how to describe it. It is so good to qualify for Olympic and I am so proud how I sailed well this week. I kept following the wind, even if I was not in the best position all the time, and in the end it worked.”
Keerati Bualong (THA) sealed the silver medal and qualified Thailand for the Rio 2016 spot. “This is something I have never experienced and now I know what the feeling is when you qualify for Olympic. It is crazy,” said a delighted Keerati said, “I am so happy to achieve something you know big, something solid and I am just proud. A lot of emotion. A new feeling I would say.”
Yukio Makino and Kenji Takahashi (JPN) won the Gold Medal and also the sole Olympics pot in the 49er. “Yeah, I think it is good. The good thing for us is that there are so many things that we didn’t get quite right this week. To still be able to pull off a Gold medal feels good. We’ve got a lot of things to go and work on, so we’ll do that and we’ll be back fighting fit.”
Keiko Miyagawa and Sena Takano (JPN) won the medal race and the Gold in the 49erFX, beating country mates Saki Matsunae and Sayoko Harada (JPN), who had led till going into the medal race today. “This morning we thought if we want to avoid all the problems, all the points calculations, we just have to go out to win the medal race,” explained Keiko. They didn’t quite do that, but as good as, by winning gold at the end of it.
RSX Men and Women
Cho Wonwoo (KOR), Michael Cheng (HKG) and Natthaphong Phonoppharat (THA) won the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in the RS:X Men.
Commenting on his win, Cho said, “I think this is good for my confidence, but nothing is done, as the level in the Olympic is really tight. To know I can win a big event is important.”
Sin Lam Lo (HKG), Siripon Kaewduangngam (THA) and Sabin Chun (KOR) won the Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in the RS:X Women.
“It’s been good competition and I was really happy with how I sailed in most of the races,” said Siripon. “Overall, I am happy with my performance”.
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