ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship preview

by ISAF 
Anna Tunnicliffe - ISAF Sailing World Championships Perth 2011
The 2012 ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship is set to take place from the 26-30 June in Gothenburg, Sweden in what will be the last big test for the Women's Olympic teams ahead of London 2012. Sixteen of the world's top 25 teams will take to the waters in Gothenburg with the twelve teams selected to compete at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing amongst those who have been named.

Four further crews with 11 Women's Match Racing Worlds appearances amongst them will also take to the water providing competition for the Olympic and World Championship hopefuls, as well as looking to stir up the competition themselves.

As if World Championship glory wasn't enough the 16 teams will also fight for a share of the 400,000SEK prize money on offer.

2011 World Champion Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) will be one of the favourites in Sweden having held the top spot in the Women's Match Racing Rankings since 7 September 2011. The American comprehensively defeated Lucy Macgregor (GBR) 4-0 in the final in Perth, Australia and has since gone on to notch up three regatta victories and a third place finish in five regattas sailed in this year.

Tunnicliffe, 2011 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year, came through a tough London 2012 qualification regatta where she defeated compatriot Sally Barkow in the final. Barkow, ranked world number five, will be in Sweden aiming to gain some form of redemption as well as attempting to regain the title she won in Annapolis, USA in 2004 and Hamilton, Bermuda in 2005.

Macgregor won gold at US Sailing's Rolex Miami OCR, the second of seven ISAF Sailing World Cup Regattas, in January 2012 but has since had a lull in form. At three regattas since then Macgregor has finished outside of the podium and will have her eye on a top three finish in Sweden to reaffirm her status as one of the favourites for Olympic gold.

Australia's Olivia Price is set to be the youngest match racing competitor at London 2012 but nonetheless she is finding form at the right time. Price defeated Claire Leroy (FRA) in the final at Skandia Sail for Gold, the penultimate ISAF Sailing World Cup Regatta, showing that she will be one to watch not only in Gothenburg but also at London 2012.

Olivia Price, Nina Curtis, Lucinda Whitty (AUS) Match Racing - Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta 2012

Leroy, 2007 and 2008 Women's Match Racing Champion, has finished second on three occasions throughout 2012 and will no doubt want to stop the trend in Gothenburg.

Ekaterina Skudina (RUS) and Silja Lehtinen (FIN) will also be two of the Olympic hopefuls aiming to put in a good performance ahead of the games.

Womens Match Race. Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva, Mikaela WUlff, (FIN) and Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush, Kate Macgregor, (GBR) - Miami OCR 2012

Anna Claire Le Berre (FRA), Camilla Ulrikkeholm (DEN), Julie Bossard (FRA) and Silke Hahlbrock (GER) are the skippers who will be missing out on London 2012.

Racing begins on Tuesday 26 June with the 16 teams split into two groups. The top four from each group will advance to the Gold group where they will fight for one of the top four spots to progress to the semi-final and then final.

Competing Skippers By ISAF Women's Match Racing World Ranking:

1. Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
2. Lucy Macgregor (GBR)
3. Claire Leroy (FRA)
4. Ekaterina Skudina (RUS)
5. Sally Barkow (USA)
6. Olivia Price (AUS)
8. Tamara Echegoyen (ESP)
9. Silja Lehtinen (FIN)
10. Anne-Claire Le Berre (FRA)
13. Camilla Ulrikkeholm (DEN)
14. Mandy Mulder (NED)
15. Julie Bossard (FRA)
19. Rita Goncalves (POR)
20. Silke Hahlbrock (GER)
22. Renee Groeneveld (POR)
25. Anna Kjellberg (SWE)

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