Athens will host the 420 Class Sailing World Championships next July, the sport’s international federation announced yesterday. Scheduled for July 22 to 31 in 2008, the sailing event is expected to attract approximately 180 contestants from some 30 countries. The International Sailing Federation’s president, Nino Shmueli, has recently visited Greece to evaluate the Olympic sailing facility in Kallithea, southern Athens. «This is a major responsibility and challenge, but we’re going to be totally prepared,» said Pantelis Pavlidis, the Greek sailing federation’s deputy chief and president of NOTK, the Tzitzifies-Kallithea sailing club in the Saronic Gulf, where the competition will take place. The club celebrates its 50th anniversary next year. «We wanted very much to host this event, one additional reason being the 50th anniversary of the sailing club’s establishment,» said Pavlidis. «From the moment we submitted our bid we felt certain that the international federation would select us and that we would honor this choice in the best possible way… The sailing club’s Olympic facilities ensure great hospitality for the sailors and the organization of a high-standard event.» The qualifying competition is scheduled for July 25 and 26 with four days of finals to follow, from July 28 to 31. Registration procedures, the opening ceremony and a trial run are scheduled for July 22 to 24.