Our South African pairing of Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson have qualified for the gold fleet, and now have just six races left in which to qualify themselves for the Rio Olympics. Their 5th race result yesterday, an 8th, was their best of the regatta so far – but it puts them in 7th to qualify – and they need to be 6 or better.
Their results so far: 15; 12; 19; 13; 8
A lighter breeze filled in over the race course in Haifa Bay on day two of the 2015 470 World Championships, proving a challenge for the teams as the wind came down the race track in bands and patches.
Racing got underway in around 8-10 knots, decreasing to 6 as racing wrapped up. Different sides paid at different stages of the race, mixed up with a reasonable amount of current. Six races and just four OCSs showed the restraint from teams, with no mistake worth making at this stage of the Championship.
Focussing further down the leader board to South Africa’s Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson, the situation is a bit different from where they found themselves in the Olympic qualification mix at the 2012 470 Worlds. Back then, the pair were the last unqualified nation for London 2012 in gold fleet when the split was decided, so having guaranteed their slot the pressure eased somewhat. Now, with 8 nations gunning for six Olympic slots, there will be no let-up over the next 6 races.
“Yesterday was a little difficult with a 15 and 12, and then the 18th was a problem for us,” explained Hudson on the challenge that loomed today to balance their score line. “We were in 8th around halfway through the first race today and we had some mistakes, so it put on a lot of pressure. We really had to deliver and in the first race we were really at the back, but caught up to 13th which was key. Then we had an 8th in the second race which put us in gold fleet, which is the first step. We need to keep doing what we did today. We enjoyed the conditions today. It is all about consistency and sailing smart, seeing things clearly and staying fast. We managed to achieve that today and we need to keep doing that and keep building as we go.”
Asked about their evolution as a team in the past two and a half years, Hudson explained, “It is not just about the two of us as a team actually, but we have a whole lot of young guys that are part of our team. Especially the young crew (Alex Burger) that we are preparing to take over as Asenathi’s team mate. We have done about 5 events with him, so we have evolved a lot as a team. And we are trying to plan for the future and have a plan after Rio to smoothly splice these future team mates into this project. From our side, we have had some really nice results along the way and managed to win the 2014 Delta Lloyd Regatta, which was the first win in a circuit event for South Africa in about 10 years. Everyone is experiencing ups and downs, good form and down, and we are the same. But we just keep on building.”
Joining South African in the hunt for Rio 2016 Olympic Qualification are teams from Argentina, Finland, Germany, Israel, Korea and Turkey. China is also in the mix, as although they qualified to Rio 2016 at the recent ISAF Sailing World Cup in Qingdao, based on the hierarchical order of the Olympic Qualification System their result at the 2015 470 Worlds will take precedence.
So come on all supporters of this dynamic duo – send them your best wishes and keep willing them on to qualify for Rio 2016.