Double French Gold In Paralympic Events - France Sonar Team
Issued on behalf of ISAF Sailing World Cup
France's Damien Seguin, in the 2.4mR, and Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary, in the Sonar, made it a double gold for the host nation at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères as the Paralympic competition wrapped up.
Tight racing across the week ensured it all boiled down to the final race in the 2.4mR and the Sonar but solid performances from both French teams sealed the deal.
Seguin started the day off with a commanding performance in the 2.4mR. He took the lead from the start and maintained it through to the finish to enhance his chances of gold.
With a six point gap at the top, the Frenchman knew what had to be done. In a tricky breeze Seguin came through in seventh to clinch gold by four points over Matt Bugg (AUS).
"I am happy,” smiled Seguin as he packed his lifejacket into his van. Seguin has picked up six ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères golds since 2008 and knows the climate better than best but still found the competition tough, "This year was really difficult because the weather conditions were not really good for me. It was difficult but I knew I could win in light winds and strong winds.
"It was a really big battle for me between the Brits, Bjørnar [Erikstad], the German and everybody so I am happy.
"We were only 18 boats here but all the guys and the women competing are going to the Paralympic Games so it's a big level.”
Australia's Bugg had a big day on the water recording a second and first to climb up into silver medal position. 2014 winner Heiko Kroeger (GER) rounded off the podium with two fourths, finishing just a single point ahead of Helena Lucas (GBR).
The Sonar competition stirred up several ups and downs throughout the week resulting in a final race showdown.
The French team had a one point advantage over Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) with Jens Kroker, Robert Prem and Siegmund Mainka (GER) three points off the leaders.
It was a winner take all scenario. The Australians had the advantage at the first mark, leading the French and German teams but Jourdren, Flageul and Vimont-Vicary battled their way back on the first downwind to edge ahead.
The French maintained the advantage over the Australians and whilst the Germans edged ahead of them by one place, it wasn't enough to overthrow them as Jourdren explained,"We only had one point between us and the Australians and we were just behind them which was enough to win. But we passed and then we spent all the time looking around thinking 'where? Where? Where is he? That was very important to us.”
Jourdren and his team finished the race in third to seal the gold and concluded, "We've been coming to Hyères for many years and we're happy we've won. It was a good day for the French and we hope the others like the 470s and Nacra add some more French victories.”
Silver went the way of the Australians with the Germans taking bronze.
The next ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta in Weymouth and Portland, Great Britain will feature the 2.4mR, SKUD18 and Sonar with racing commencing on 10 June. For many of the athletes it will mark a return to the venue of the London 2012 Paralympic Sailing Competition
Photo : © Franck Socha