Windsurfing / RS:X World Championships / Korzits secures London berth
High winds force cancellation of races in Spain, ensuring podium finish for Israel's best hope of an Olympic medal.
Israeli windsurfer Lee Korzits formally booked her place at the London Olympics yesterday, despite the cancellation of all the day's races at the RS:X World Championships due to strong winds.
Competitors spent several hours waiting to hear whether winds of up to 40 knots would nix the day's competition in Cadiz, Spain. Word eventually came through that organizers had called off the races, leaving just today's medal races.
This was excellent news for Korzits. Having already won the World Championships in Perth three months ago, she is well ahead of the field in this competition, too.
Currently on 17 points, Korzits is four points ahead of second-placed Zofia Klepacka of Poland and 10 points ahead of Italy's Alessandra Sensini. None of the other competitors can overtake her, meaning another medal for the Israeli windsurfer, who is the country's best hope for a medal at the London Games. If she does, as expected, pick up a medal in London, she will become the first Israeli woman to do so since judoka Yael Arad in 1992.
If, as meteorologists are predicting, the winds fail to die down today, the medal races will also be canceled and Korzits will be crowned world champion for the second time in a row and the third time in her career. She will also pick up a NIS 100,000 bonus from the Israel Olympic Committee.
In the men's competition, the cancellation of yesterday's races meant neither Nimrod Mashiah nor Shahar Zubari could move into a medal position, leaving the two Israelis to battle it out between them for the lone ticket to London.
Mashiah is currently sixth on 52 points, while his great rival Zubari is ninth with 69 points. Zubari can only overhaul Mashiah if he wins today's medal race - assuming it isn't canceled - and Mashiah finishes outside the top 10.
If today's races are canceled the gap between them will grow to 17 points. The deciding competition will be held in the Netherlands in May, where Zubari will need to win either gold or silver to overtake Mashiah in the overall standings and book his place in a third consecutive Olympics.