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Aarhus - 11 races, 8 places in Tokyo, 1 Gold Cup

Nearly 100 Finn sailors from more than 40 nations compete for just eight country places at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

But also at stake is one of the most sought after prizes in dinghy racing – The Finn Gold Cup – which comes with more than 60 years of heritage and prestige.

The Hempel Sailing World Championships 2018 in Aarhus, Denmark, is the second most important regatta for Finn sailors in the quadrennium and the field is the deepest that the class has seen at a world championship since the 2014 event in Santander.

With one notable exception everyone is here to try and win one of those elusive places, or gain the necessary experience to qualify at a later date.

That exception is Britain's Giles Scott.

All of the top 30 world ranked sailors are competing except the current Olympic champion Giles Scott, who won in Miami and Palma, but pulled out of Aarhus to focus on his America’s Cup campaign with INEOS Team UK.

He leaves potential British qualification in the hands of a very strong squad that includes World No 6, Ben Cornish and current European champion Ed Wright.

The 11 race series consists of a six race qualifcation series followed by a four race final series and then the all important medal race, scheduled for Thursday 9 August.

Cornish said, "There is no question this event will be the pinnacle of the year. The chance to leave Aarhus with the Gold Cup is the reason everyone will be fighting for every inch over the week.”

Wright was also looking forward to the start of racing.

“It’s a very shifty venue so probably consistency will prove strong and split fleets always has its victim. The great thing about Aarhus is we should get all wind conditions but generally flat water.”

The Australian team has brought a very strong group that includes Rio Olympian Jake Lilley, Oliver Tweddell and 2012 Laser gold medalist Tom Slingsby in his first Finn championship.

Slingsby took part in a few domestic events in Australia earlier in the year and then started full time in May.

How he will perform here is a mater of some discussion. The team is coached by Rafa Trujillo, a former silver medalist.

Hot at the moment is 2013 world champion, and current World No 1, Jorge Zarif, from Brazil, who recently started working with a new coach, Robert Scheidt. Zarif won in Hyeres and at the World Cup final in Marseille.

From France, the 2017 European champion Jonathan Lobert is sure to figure near the front.

Croatia’s team consists of the 2017 Europeans bronze medalist Milan Vujasinovic, who narrowly missed selection to Rio, as well as Josip Olujic and Nenad Bugarin, who have both put in notable performances over the past year.

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