A total success for the 34th Garda Optimist Meeting: in organisation and sport

Sun, 27/03/2016

In the Cadets Fraglia Vela Riva takes the top prizes in the boys and girls with Mattia Cesana and Agata Scalmazzi.

In the Juniors  major upset in the grand final : Berthet of Norvway wins followed by Demetrio Sposato; third is Muller of Germany. In the girls' category the title goes to Giulia Sepe who repeats the achievement of her brother Riccardo who won the Meeting last year.
Giorgia Cingolani of Fraglia Vela Riva takes second place in the junior girls. Third is Busch of Germany.

There was satisfaction not only for the winners in each category but also for all the 900 helmsmen who took part and gave their very best: for many it was enough of an achievement to finish halfway down the standings.

The event was broadcast on live streaming throughout the world.

The 34th edition of the Garda Optimist Meeting organised by Fraglia Vela Riva is now over. With 4 days of sunshine and wind there was the best conditions on Lake Garda, Trentino for the 900 helmsmen present to give their best and for their families to enjoy the delights of Riva del Garda.
Thirty nations, great friendship, and the twinning between teams of different nations defined the true spirit of the Garda Optimist Meeting. In both the Cadet and the Junior categories we witnessed helmsmen of great skill: technical and tactical, athletism and character which came through in the critical moments especially in the last two races of this Easter Sunday.

It was a test of character in the Cadets with an excellent Mattia Cesana( Fraglia Vela Riva) bringing the organising club to the highest level. Today's final didn't get off to the best start when a gust of wind pushed him back into 44th place. But it was his determination that made the difference and Cesana didn't give up and he finished the Garda Optimist Meeting with a first ( six out of eight), a well deserving winner 10 points ahead of Erik Norlèn of Sweden. Third 21 points behind was German Ole Schweckendiek. Helmsmen from 6 different countries finished in the top ten (ITA, SWE, GER, GBR, USA, POL).
 There was also success for the organising club in the girls category with Agata Scalmazzi winning for the girls and  finishing seventh overall. She was also hindered in the second last race but fought back to take first place overtaking Aurora Palko of Croatia who dropped into 14th position. Another display of steely determination was from Emma Mattivi of Fraglia Vela Riva who climbed from 16th place to 10th in the last two races . She took second place on the podium for the girls . Giorgia Bonalana (CV Torbole ) missed the podium by coming fourth in the girls and 15th overall.


The wind was much stronger today (20 knots in the 10th and last race), and made some difference in the top two places in the standings with only one point separating the two athletes. Italian Demetrio Sposato (CV Crotone, sixth in the 2015 Optimist World Championships) did everything he could to gain ground: going into the final he was lying fifth overall 14 points behind the leader; with a first and a ninth he was able to reach second place, finishing only one point behind Mathias Berthet of Norway, who came third in regatta 9 and 15th in the last but taking the title of the 34th Garda Optimist Meeting thus breaking the cycle of Italian wins of the last three years. Things didn't go well for Valentin Muller of Germany with a 18-21 and  he dropped from first to third place. Laukkanen of Finland climbed into 4th place tying on points with Muller. Falling back into fifth place was Roko Mohr of Germany. Finishing in the top ten was yet another Italian and representative of Fraglia Vela Riva, Matteo Bedoni who took eighth place once again finishing high  in an international regatta.
There was a hard-fought battle in the girls' category and just one year on from Riccardo Sepe's success, his sister Giulia (CV Roma) also reached the top spot on the podium for the girls and came tenth overall. Giorgia Cingolani of Fraglia Vela Riva made a good comeback to reach the podium in the girls' coming from third place going into the final, she came second and twelfth overall. Busch of Germany was third while runner up in the World Championships, Gaia Bergonzini (Fraglia Vela Malcesine) had a difficult day (65-44), which put her back into 4th place in the category ( 20th overall), just three points from a medal.
Let's give a mention to the other 600 plus helmsmen, who were nowhere near the top ten but raced with the same determination as those who did. No matter how far down the standings they finished their achievements were received with pride by parents and grandparents as seen on the many posts on social network sites. Being able to finish the races among so many competitors, the heats and on a lake that despite the favourable sailing conditions, was maybe a little more challenging than they were used to.

And finally a big thank you to all the people who contributed to the success of the event: real teamwork which involved directors, secretaries, score board  officials, buoy setters, regatta committees, parents, coaches, club members and law enforcement. They all gave a valuable contribution to ensure that this event would be staged in the best possible way.

photo courtesy Emilio Santinelli


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