One of the most physical of all Olympic disciplines, windsurfing combines intense concentration, tactical thinking, and pure athleticism. Races are short and sharp and mistakes are punished ruthlessly by other athletes.
Last yearâ€™s world champion Gal FRIDMAN (ISR) is no stranger to this and returns this year to Cadiz, having already qualified Israel for Athens 2004, to defend his title. He has been one of the most consistent windsurfers this year, never having finished outside of the top four in the regattas that matter, and goes to the ISAF World Championships as a good bet to retain his title. Gal has past Olympic honour to his name, having won a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympic Regatta, Israelâ€™s only ever Olympic medal in sailing. He will no doubt be wishing to repeat past form.
There are probably one or two sailors that would dearly like to remove that title from his grasp however. Two of these will no doubt be Jon-Paul TOBIN (NZL) and Maxim OBERENKO (UKR), who are both ranked second and first respectively in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings. Challenges will also come from the ever present Nikos KAKLAMANAKIS (GRE) who, without the pressure of having to qualify Greece for the Olympic regatta, will be out to win. If selected to represent Greece, which seems inevitable, the 2004 Olympic Regatta will mark Kaklamankisâ€™ fourth appearance at the Olympic Games, having previously placed 9 at the 1992 Olympic Regatta, Gold in 1996 and 6 in 2000.
Tobin, on current form is showing blistering pace and this looks set to continue, so he will be a strong challenger for the overall title.
Whilst windsurfing has been an Olympic sport since 1098, the womenâ€™s event was only introduced in 1992, with the Mistral making its first appearance on the Olympic circuit with selection for the 1996 Olympic Regatta.
Nations Already Qualified for the 2004 Olympic Regatta from results at the 2002 Mistral Class World Championship:
Israel (ISR), Brazil (BRA), France (FRA), Great Britain (GBR), Argentina (ARG), Portugal (POR), New Zealand (NZL), Poland (POL), Ukraine (UKR), Spain (ESP), Hungary (HUN), Netherlands (NED).
Related Websites Event Website http://mail.btinternet.com/bti/redirect.html?http://www.cadizworlds2003.com