- 22 June 2009 | Windsurfing
Israel's Shahar ZUBARI and Marina ALABAU of Spain are the 2009 RS:X European Champions, claiming the titles following today's Medal Races in Tel Aviv.
The women’s Medal Race was held first and it turned out to be a sweet victory for Marina ALABAU (ESP). European Champion in 2007 and 2008, she now adds the 2009 RS:X European Championship title to her impressive list of successes. By finishing second in the Medal Race, she has demonstrated that she is the dominant force in the Women's RS:X fleet. No other woman can live with her, except perhaps...
Her team mate. Blanca MANCHON (ESP) ran out of power on the last day. She topped the leaderboard for the whole of the championship. However, she scored a DNF in the first race of the day yesterday suffering from heat stroke. She dug deep. Took on the 10th race in the series (the second of yesterday's races) and came third. All she had to do today was finish in the top five.
Sadly, it was not to be. She spent the morning in hospital, hooked up to a glucose drip. She was so dehydrated that the doctors told her not to race.
Nevertheless, like a true champion, she dragged herself down to Tel Aviv Marina rigged up and went racing. She just had to finish to secure second place overall. This she did... a great achievement although the silver medal will be difficult to take after dominating throughout the week.
Bryony SHAW (GBR) hung onto the third place overall that she reclaimed yesterday. Finishing seventh in the Medal Race was just enough to secure her a podium position. That makes it bronze in Qingdao and now bronze in Tel Aviv for the Brit. Come September and the RS:X World Championship in Weymouth, she will be determined to go at least one better. To do that she will have to mix it with the Spanish duo. It's a big ask...
Disappointment must also be the sentiment felt by Maayan DAVIDOVICH (ISR). Fourth overall before the Medal Race and no doubt hoping to go one better on her home waters.
She threw it away yesterday in race 10 and then failed to make an impression today, finishing ninth. Final result seventh overall ... behind the Italian pair of Laura LINARES (ITA) and Flavia TARTAGLINI (ITA).
In the men’s Medal Race, Shahar ZUBARI (ISR) never looked threatened; Always looked in control; never got flustered or excited; although admittedly the conditions were ideal for him with 5-12 knots all week. He is almost unbeatable at this level and on this water. Gold at the 2009 RS:X European Championships was almost a formality here in Tel Aviv. Or that's how it looked from the outside. No doubt, he suffers from some angst and anxiety but he never shows it. Silver in Tel Aviv is added to the bronze medal he won in Qingdao at the Beijing Olympic Games.
But for an uncharacteristically poor set of results on day four (10, 10), Julien BONTEMPS (FRA) would have been in a position to threaten ZUBARI more seriously. As it was, he was left defending his position from Ivan PASTOR (ESP).
PASTOR faded in race 10 putting in a 16th and then compounded the error by not putting in a good Medal Race result. BONTEMPS was let off the hook when he could have been made to struggle and sweat.
João RODRIGUES (POR) looked as though he might be a threat with flashes of brilliance but never really put a series together that demanded attention.
Next stop Weymouth... the RS:X World Championships will be raced on the waters set to host the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.