Rio sailing event proves great success
Organisers and athletes have praised the Aquece International Sailing Regatta – the first in a series of major sporting events to be held in Rio as the Brazilian city prepares to stage the 2016 Olympic Games.
The world-class regatta, which came to a close on 9 August, saw 326 athletes - including 32 Olympic medalists - from 35 countries take to the competition courses in Guanabara Bay, where the sailing events will be held during the 2016 Games.
The event, which featured all 10 Olympic classes and was the biggest regatta ever held in Brazil, was designed to give the Rio 2016 Organising Committee the chance to test key Games-time operations, such as the field of play and the scoring, timing and results systems.
"The first test event comes to a close with a sense of mission accomplished,” said Rodrigo Garcia, Sports Director of the Rio 2016 Organising Committee. “This has been a wonderful experience and a successful event, but most importantly we have learned a lot.”
The regatta also provided athletes with an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the wind and water conditions at the future Olympic venue – and they seemed impressed by the experience.
"Conditions throughout the week were extremely positive,” said Britain’s Giles Scott, who took first place in the Finn class. “We had at least 10 knots of wind every day which was great, especially because we were prepared for much less. Rio pulled off a great regatta this year.”
Dutch Olympic gold medallist Dorian van Rijsselberghe, who won the RS:X class at the event, added: "Rio has shown that it is capable of hosting a great event. It was a lot of fun.”
The International Sailing Regatta was the first in a series of 45 elite-level sporting events that the Brazilian city will host during the build-up to Rio 2016, which will form a crucial part of the Organising Committee’s preparations for the Games.