Shahar Zubari won the first race of the 2016 RS:X windsurfing World Championships in Eilat yesterday, getting the event off to an ideal start for host Israel..
(photo credit: AMIT SHISEL/ISA)
Shahar Zubari got the 2016 RS:X windsurfing World Championships in Eilat off to a perfect start on Monday, winning the opening race in Israel’s southernmost city.
The surfers were split into two groups for the opening races of the event and Zubari finished first in the Blue Group. He shares first place overall with Poland’s Piotr Myszka, who won the first race in the Yellow Group.
The second men’s race scheduled for Monday was postponed due to weak winds.
Zubari’s big local rival, Nimrod Mashiah, got off to a disappointing start and is only in 32nd place overall after crossing the finish line in 16th in the Yellow Group.
Zubari and Mashiah are battling for Israel’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 this week ahead of the fifth and final test event in Palma de Mallorca at the end of March.
Israeli youngster Daniel Harrari is tied for fifth after finishing third in the Blue Group.
The women surfers did manage to complete both their races on Monday, with Israel’s Ma’ayan Davidovich in seventh place overall after finishing in sixth and fourth in the Blue Group. Noy Drihan is one place further back after finishing in seventh and fifth.
Poland’s Zofia Noceti Klepacka leads the competition after finishing in first and second.
“The conditions are very difficult,” said Zubari.
There will be 12 races contested in Eilat until Friday, with the medal race to be held in the final day of the competition on Saturday.
“I’m pleased with my start,” said Davidovich.
“The key in these championships will be to perform consistently.”