First International Sailors for Perth 2011
Four Japanese sailors competing in 470 class events arrived in Perth last week and since Friday (Sept. 23) have been training in a variety of conditions off their base at the Fremantle Sailing Club.
Skipper Ai Kondo and her crew Wakako Tabata will start the women’s 470 event in Perth on a high after winning the gold medal from 22 boats in the London Olympic sailing test event at Weymouth last month. The pair also won their class at the Asian Games in China last year.
Also training off Fremantle are Japanese men’s 470 crew of Ryunosuke Harada (skipper) and Yugo Yoshida.
Both crews are practising under the keen eye of Japan’s head sailing coach, Kazunori Komatsu, who sailed in four Olympic Games in Solings and 470s. He last visited Fremantle in 1997 when he took part in that year’s Whitbread around-the-world yacht race.
“The world championships are important for all our crews because it’s both a contest for selection for Japan’s Olympic team and for the world championship itself,” Komatsu says. “We hope Ai Kondo will win a championship gold medal as she already has won silver.”
Twelve hundred of the world’s top Olympic class sailors and 850 boats from 80 nations will contest the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships between 3 – 18 December,
The two Japanese crews will train off Fremantle until returning to Japan on October 8th to compete in a local regatta and then take part in the Sail Melbourne regatta in November.
The 470 athletes will put their boats on the train to cross the Nullabor to Melbourne - a 7,000 kilometre round journey. Many other international sailors arriving in Perth over the next two months will also be travelling to Melbourne for final top-class competition ahead of The Worlds.
Japanese sailors will compete in five world title events at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing Worlds.