Itongadol.- The 2016 RS:X windsurfing World Championships get under way in Eilat on Monday morning with 143 surfers from 37 countries vying for the medals in Israel’s southernmost city.
The world’s leading surfers, including Olympic medalists and world champions, as well as Israel’s top surfers, will all be taking part in the prestigious event.
Shahar Zubari and Nimrod Mashiah are Israel’s best medal hopes in the men’s competition and will also be continuing their battle for the country’s lone berth in the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympics.
Each country can only send one windsurfer to Brazil, and Mashiah currently holds a 4.25- point advantage over Zubari after three of five test events.
With 50 points on offer for a gold medal in Eilat, 40 for a silver, 30 for a bronze, 17 for fourth place and so on, the head-to-head battle between the two could well already be decided before the fifth and final test event in Palma de Mallorca at the end of March.
Ma’ayan Davidovich is Israel’s only realistic medal hope in the women’s event, taking bronze medals in the Worlds in 2013 and 2014.
“We are proud to be hosting the World Championships and we thank the Eilat Municipality for its cooperation and massive investment,” said Israel Sailing Association chairman Gili Amir.
There will be 12 races contested in Eilat between Monday and Friday, with the medal race to be held in the final day of the competition on Saturday.
“Everything is ready and we are expecting a fascinating competition of the highest level,” said Ronnie Meir, the event’s coordinator.
“The championships will begin with a strong wind from the west with many wind changes that will demand very good technique from the surfers.”