Smith’s Olympic dream dashed in Florida
Benn Smith’s Olympic qualifying hopes have ended while compatriot Rockal Evans’s hang by a thread at the Hempel World Cup Series Miami in Florida.
Smith’s hopes of securing the sole qualifying spot on offer to the North American region for the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer were dashed after he finished 15th in the opening race series among the 40-strong Laser class.
The top ten sailors in the Lasers will contest today’s medal race in Biscayne Bay with Andrew Lewis, of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Canadian trio of Robert Davis, Fillah Karim and Hugh Macrae battling for the sole qualifying spot that is poised to go down to the wire.
The 20-year-old Smith, son of Bermuda Olympian and former World Sunfish champion Malcolm Smith, managed two top-ten finishes including a regatta best eighth in the third race.
The Laser class only completed seven of the scheduled ten race opening series as yesterday’s final three races were cancelled due to lack of wind.
Francisco Guaragna Rigonat, of Argentina, topped the Laser standings after the opening series, with Stefano Peschiera, of Peru, and Spaniard Enrique Jose Arathoon Pacas rounding off the top three.
Meanwhile, Evans has progressed to today’s medal race in the Finn class, but his Olympic qualifying hopes appear slim at best.
The Bermudian trails Mexican Juan Perez Soltero, who is firmly poised to take the spot for his nation, by 22 points going into today’s final day of the regatta.
Evans finished tenth among the 14-boat Finn class with five top ten showings, including a best finish of third, in the opening ten-race series which saw the light conditions take their toll on his Olympic qualifying bid.
Caleb Paine, of the United States, is guaranteed gold ahead of the medal race in the Finn class as he has an unassailable lead over nearest rivals Luke Muller and Kyle Martin, of Canada, who are tied on points with the latter in third.
The Hempel Sailing World Cup Series Miami is the final opportunity for North American competitors to qualify for the sailing competition in Tokyo.
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