Greek sailing duo rule the waves

Had it occurred in some other sport that enjoys a wider following in Greece, the celebrations would have been immense. But with sailing events having little popularity, the Greek pair of Sofia Bekatorou and Emilia Tsoulfa, competing in the women’s 470 – double-handed dinghy event, won their fourth world title yesterday at the current World Championships in Cadiz, southern Spain, to little fanfare. It was a resounding victory, too. Bekatorou and Tsoulfa, ranked third in the world prior to this competition, won five of the event’s 10 heats and ended second twice to leave their rivals far behind. In the other three heats, the Greek pair ended fourth, eighth and were disqualified once, in the second-last heat, for a total of 21 penalty points. Placings in each heat are tallied for a final aggregate score, while competitors are entitled to nullify their worst placing. Lower penalty-point aggregates determine higher final placings. (Bekatorou and Tsoulfa were charged with 25 penalty points for their disqualification but, as their worst performance, it was exempted from their aggregate score). France’s Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux, ranked fifth, ended in second place, far behind the Greek team, with 50 penalty points. They nudged out the Australian pair of Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell for the silver medal by a single penalty point. The Australian bronze medalists went to Spain ranked fourth. Poor performances in yesterday’s two final two heats deprived Greece’s Andreas Cosmatopoulos and Costas Trigonis – ranked first in the world – of a medal in the men’s 470 – double-handed dinghy event. They finished seventh after ending 11th and 19th in the category’s last two heats. Italy’s Gabrio Zandona and Andrea Trani, ranked 15th, upset their opponents to win the gold in the men’s 470 – double-handed dinghy. Spain’s Martinez Doreste and Dimas Wood, ranked eighth, won silver, and Australia’s Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page, ranked second, took the bronze.

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