- 12 May 2008 | Windsurfing
For the first time in 11 years João RODRIGUES (POR) has stepped onto the top step of the podium at an Olympic windsurfing class European Championship. He did so in 1996 and 1997 following up his World Championship gold medal in Port Elizabeth in 1995.
By winning in Brest, he has clearly laid his marker down as a serious contender for the forthcoming Olympic Sailing Competition in China. Julien BONTEMPS (FRA) finished second overall with world #1 Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL) in third.
Overall the championship was very well organized by Les Crocodiles de L’Elorn - the only club in France with two Olympic gold medallists among its alumni.
With an entirely carpeted competitors’ village, a giant screen showing streamed video from the water and an army of ever smiling and helpful volunteers, Franch JAOUEN, the president of the club, has set a standard that other organizers will have a hard time topping.
In the women’s fleet, Marina ALABAU (ESP) won the European Championship by a resounding five points; conclusive evidence that she is fast in the light and in the medium winds. Watch out in Qingdao, she is hot.
Back in second place Charline PICON (FRA) demonstrated she is a worthy understudy to third placed Faustine MERRET (FRA). She may not be so self assured in front of the press pack but she certainly can race. Zofia KLEPACKA (POL) made up the top four who were head and shoulders above the rest. Best of the rest was another French women, Pauline PERRIN (FRA), 17 points off the back of the front pack.
The only non European woman to make it into the top 10 was Barbara KENDALL (NZL), who finished sixth but seemed to lack a bit of sparkle in her racing this week. Admittedly, having taken silver on her home waters at the RS:X World Championship in New Zealand last January, the Europeans were just another marker on the road to Quingdao.
Next stop: The Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, Netherlands, which starts on 21 May.