July 19, 2023
National Team member Sarah Douglas from ABYC, Toronto took the 5th position overall, Saturday, in ILCA 6 at the Paris 2024 Test Event held this week in Marseille, France, at the venue that will host the Olympic sailing competition in nearly one year at the Games.
Through the 11 races that were held this week, Douglas recorded six top ten results, including a fifth-place finish in the medal race that was limited to the top 10 sailors in the standings following the preliminary races. After a tough first day which left her in 17th position overall, she consistently gained ground after that, climbing to the 12th, 9th and then 6th position overall before finishing the event in 5th place.
Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands won gold, followed by Anne-Marie Rindom from Denmark and Chiara Benini Floriani from Italy. Bouwmeester took third place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games while Rindom was the gold medal winner in Tokyo as well as at the 2022 ILCA 6 World Championships.
“I’m happy to have pushed through this week,” said Sarah Douglas. “It didn’t start well but I continued to climb up the leaderboard. I came here quite fatigued and a bit burnt out from a very heavy training load and a lot of time spent out on the water these past months, with short periods of rest. But it’s great to see that I can push through, focus on the process and still put together some good races. Now, I will be able to get some well-deserved rest at home ahead of the 2023 World Sailing Championships next month.”
The week’s competition was a good opportunity for athletes vying to qualify for Paris 2024 to prepare for next year’s Olympic sailing competition. The Paris 2024 Test Event followed the Olympic format by allowing only one athlete/team per class per country to enter. All 10 Olympic classes were in action throughout the week of competition. The Paris 2024 Sailing Test Event was the last opportunity for all sailors to experience the conditions that they will encounter at the venue in Marseille, in addition to competing against the best in the world. Over 60% of all the medalists at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games or from the 2022 World Championship Olympic events were featured at the Paris 2024 Test Event.
“We learned a lot about the venue and how it can keep you on your toes on the water,” pointed out Douglas. “The heat will be a significant factor for Paris 2024, so it was good to be able to run through our cooling strategies here. There are still some kinks for me, the Canadian team and the organizing authority to sort out, but that’s the point of a test event.”
An injury prevents Ten Hove/Millen from taking part in the Medal Race in 49erFX
In 49erFX, the Canadian team comprised of Ali ten Hove from Kingston, ON, and Mariah Millen from Toronto were in eighth position overall before the last preliminary race and in a good position to qualify for the medal race, but they had to forfeit their last race and therefore did not finish amongst the top ten, closing out the week in 12th place.
Ten Hove and Millen, who finished 16th at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, were sixth overall following the first three races of the competition, and also after the first sixth races, before having a difficult third day where they slid back into the 12th spot. But on the last day of the preliminary races, they recorded fourth and eighth-place results to move back in eighth position overall, before they had to forfeit.
“We headed into the Olympic Test Event hoping to learn as much as we could about the venue,” said Mariah Millen and Ali ten Hove. “Each day tested us with new challenges. We had a pretty consistent score line that kept us in the top 10, but after getting into two incidents with other teams, we were carrying letter (DSQ, and RET) scores that put us further down the rankings. We headed into the last day in 12th place knowing that we had to give it our all to be in medal race contention. We finished 4th in the first one of the day, but Mariah suffered a knee injury. In the second race, we were able to finish 8th but it wasn’t possible for Mariah to walk or finish the last race of the day. This was not the way we were hoping to end the regatta.”
“With Worlds around the corner, our priority is to recover and make sure we will be ready to race in The Hague!”
Canadian results at the Paris 2024 Test Event
5. Sarah Douglas (Toronto, ON, ABYC)
12. Ali ten Hove (Kingston, ON, KYC) & Mariah Millen (Toronto, ON, RCYC)
24. William Jones (Jerseyville, ON-RHYC) & Justin Barnes (Pickering, ON-RCYC)
33. Fillah Karim (Vancouver, BC -RVYC)
20. Marie-Ève Mayrand (Calgary, AB)