Europe's best sailors of the ILCA class compete in Vilamoura starting today
Vilamoura remains one of the few places in the world where sailing competitions are held, after having been canceled in several countries and transferred to Portugal.
This was the case of the Olympic Qualification event of the European Continent of the ILCA class – International Laser Class Association – which starts today in the waters of Vilamoura and which is organized by Vilamoura Sailing.
In this qualifying event for European countries, the only 4 ‘tickets’ still available for Tokyo 2020 will be the target of a close fight in the waters of Vilamoura. There are 2 places for the male fleet with 17 nations looking for the much-desired passport and two more for women with 7 countries dreaming of arriving in Tokyo.
This event, which for many represents the ultimate opportunity, brought to Vilamoura 150 sailors from 34 countries.
Portugal aspires to conquer one of these places, both for men and women.
4 sailors and 8 national sailors will try their luck, in a class in which our country has great reference figures such as Sara Carmo and Gustavo Lima, athletes with several participations in Olympic Games.
Luís Rocha, National Technical Director of the Portuguese Sailing Federation, highlights the very young age of Portuguese sailors, especially the two athletes with the best chance of qualifying: Carolina João, from Sport Algés and Dafundo and Mafalda Pires de Lima, from Clube de Atlantic sailing.
“In the case of these two sailors, it is perfectly possible for them to reach qualification. But, because of their youth, and regardless of the results they manage to achieve these days, they must continue their preparation in a long-term perspective because they will certainly have other Olympic Games ahead of them ”.
For the first time, a record number of international competitions will take place in the same place, in a short period of time.
The good security conditions offered by Vilamoura, with regard to the pandemic, led the International Olympic Committee and World Sailing to entrust Portugal and Vilamoura Sailing with the organization of these events.
“Vilamoura Sailing has created unique safety conditions in the last year from the point of view of public health and this has been recognized by national and international entities. The world sailing elite is in Vilamoura training and participating in European and world events since September 2020 ”, says Nuno Reis, director of Vilamoura Sailing.
This month, the 470 class European Championship will also be held at the Vilamoura Marina and in July it will be the turn of the European Raceboard Championship, discipline of Windsurfing.