Rio 2016 silver medallist, Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic CRO, now adds a Sailing World Cup Qingdao Gold to his medal collection with a steady and calm performance throughout the week.
Knowing that he really only needed to worry about previous years winner, Great Britain’s Lorenzo Brando Chiavarini GBR, Stipanovic could have entered in to a Match Race, but the memory of the Rio Olympic Medal Race Rio 2016 where he was penalised at the start in his duel with eventual winner, Australia’s Tom Burton, the Croatian changed tactics at the last moment.
I just wanted a good start, close to Lorenzo but not make the same mistakes as the Olympics.
Talking through the Medal Race start, Stipanovic said, “I just wanted a good start, close to Lorenzo but not make the same mistakes as the Olympics. In the end I decided to just drop back. From there I saw Lorenzo didn’t have a good start and went to the right when everything was saying to me that the left side would be better, so I thought ‘this is my chance’.”
Stipanovic eventually finished fifth, but with Chiavarini behind him in seventh, the gold was his. For Chiavarini the gamble to go right meant he dropped from the podium entirely.
Winner of the Medal Race, Cyprus’ Pavlos Kontides CYP leapfrogged in to silver medal position overhauling the Briton on the final day. Italy’s Giovanni Coccoluto ITA also made the podium in bronze position thanks to his third place finish in the Medal Race, the tie breaker he needed as he sat on equal points with Chiavarini.
The final standings were Stipanovic on 25 points, Kontides on 34 and Coccoluto on 40.
Stipanovic has already confirmed he will be in Melbourne, Australia at the Sailing World Cup Final in December, but for the gold medallist the venue will be a new experience, “I haven’t really sailed in Melbourne and don’t really know what to expect. I’m also doing the Star Sailors League Final close to the Sailing World Cup Final so I won’t have much time there to prepare, but I am happy to go in to it with some medals.”