Jody Lot wins the World Spearfishing Championship at “the end of the World”
(Text by Carlo Forni and Valentina Prokic, photos Valentina Prokic)
Sagres, city in the south of Portugal, who’s nickname is “the end of the World“, was during the last couple of days “the centre of the spearfishing world“.
72 athlets from 23 countries, of all 5 continents, during two days of competition were fighting for the World Spearfishing Championship. The winner of the 2018 World Spearfihing Championship is finally Jody Lot, Portuguese, who wins his second World Title after the one in Vigo, Spain, in 2012. Spain wins as team.
Apneapassion was there, as always, only international media present.
In Sagres teams have had problems before the start of the competition, specially with boat prices that increased a lot compering to years before. Also, the respect of the timetable has been totally unacceptable in day one, with delays at the start of competition, and a weighing phase that has had awfully long time, closing at 1.30 in the morning and giving some of the last athletes weighing the catch just few hours of sleep before day 2. This is only partially justified by the great amount of catches. Big events like the Spearfishing World Championship, though, always have some problems, but the Portuguese Federation managed to balance and solve most of the issues, as for example weighing in day 2, much faster. In the end, what is important is that all worked in a situation of safety and spearos managed to catch nice fish.
Conditions of the two days of competition were a surprise for everybody. Calm sea, without wind, good visibility and warm water, a situation very rarely present on the oceaninc coast, made the competition even better. First zone was full of fish, with different kind of species, from mullets, to trigger fish, seabasses, wrasses, and congers, while the second zone had less preys, where mullets and congers were the main catch of day two. But what is true and positive is that all competitors managed to catch a good amount of fish.
It is important to underline the fact that almost all athletes managed to have at least 2 weeks preparation, some up to more than one month, except for the Tunisian athletes who came to Sagres just one day before competition and so fished without any preparation.
Same occurred to athletes from San Marino, who had issues with the dinghy opening apart with water inside and had the boat fixed just before competition. “We will follow the other athletes to see their spots, as we have not been able to go in the water once”, said one of the athletes from San Marino ”.
The first day Jody Lot was fifth, but he managed on second day to compensate the disadvantage with a fantastic result where fish was actually less than the day before, but where he managed to make the big difference compared to his direct opponents from day 1, Andre Domingues and Xavi Blanco.
From Portimao, 37 year old and 2 times World Champion Jody Lot comments: “I did not think I could win the Spearfishing World Championship for the second time. I still can’t believe it. I have a lot of fans and they are my battery to win. My advantage has been the many national championships competed here. Usually though, I am really good first day in competition field 1, and maintain in day 2, while this time it did not happen, so I had to have a very aggressive strategy in day 2”.
Jody Lot’s teammate Andre Domingues finished second and Xavi Blanco from Spain was third, after being first on day one.
In the team classification Spain won again the Gold Medal, with three spearos in the first ten, in front of Portugal and Chile. Difference between Spain and Portugal was almost nothing, 530.43 against 530.15, sum of the percentage points of all athletes of each team.
Xavi Blanco on weighing day one had 35 valid fishes, behind him were two Portuguese spearos, Andre Domingues with 38 and Pedro Domingues with 34. After them, the always performing George Vasiliou, from Cyprus, ex World Champion from Syros 2016.
Vasiliou after two days finished fifth and proved that he is able to adapt to any condition. No one counted on him to be so high in the standings because he is well known as an amazing deep diver and Sagres offered zones from zero to – 25 meters, maximum – 30 meters, in the areas of the competition. In addition, those who tried the deeper spots lost precious time to catch only few fish that could be caught in shallow spots.
The Spanish Sergio de Julian and Santiago Lopez Cid also finished in the first ten.
Italy between right and wrong penalties: all the truth
After the first day, when all three Italian spearos, Angelo Ascione, Concetto Felice and Cristian Corrias, made good results, with 8th, 9th and 11th place, Italy was expected to conquer the podium.
But at the end of day one New Zealand made a complain on Concetto Felice, as he was seen fishing after the end of competition. CMAS Technical delegate Sergie Perez, after speaking with all involved in process, has decided to disqualify Felice, assigning him zero points.
“A boat of NZE saw Concetto Felice already in water and fishing at 15,56 day 1, being time to end in water fixed at 15,50h”, comments CMAS Technical delegate Sergie Perez. “NZE Captain have presented a written official complain announcing this circumstance. We had confirmation in early morning of day 2 of the facts with both Portuguese commissars on NZE boat and ITA boat. So, I decided to disqualify Concetto Felice on first day, letting him compete on day 2, but starting with 0 points in accordance with CMAS Spearfishing General Rules”, continued Perez.
Marco Bardi, team captain of Italy, comments: “2 minutes before prize giving we have been communicated that Concetto Felice had been disqualified due to a delay of a few minutes in getting back on the boat in day 1. They justified themselves that they were not able to apply disqualification earlier as they had not been able to contact the commissar.
If they had at least presented the disqualification in day 1 we would have had time to organize ourselves. Finally, the disqualification has arrived in the very last moment without the declaration of the commissar of the Italian boat. We have presented a counterclaim with the indication by the Portuguese commissar on board that instead said that Felice had come back on the boat correctly. Unfortunately, due to the absurd timing of the program, we have not been given the possibility to defend ourselves.
I have never seen anything like this before. If disqualification had been done on the first day we would have had the time to demonstrate the truth. Now all is the in the hands of bureaucracy, but if there is any justice, I think the version of the commissar counts and I hope there will be a repentance. But finally, a very bad problem that spoils so much hard work. If we look at all details it is even more absurd”.
So, finally, Italy has presented a counterclaim and gave it to CMAS Technical delegate during official closing dinner, but it will be considered in the next days. The complaint shows the signature also of the Portuguese Commissar on the Italian boat that confirms that he, himself, had given a wrong indication to the Italian skipper of Felice, Valerio Losito, informing the competition had started at 10.55, instead of 10.50. A document that seems to prove the innocence of the Italian athlete, and something not clear in Perez decision after “confirmation in early morning of day 2 early the facts with both Portuguese commissars on NZE boat and ITA boat.”
Before condemning an athlete, spoiling his image and demotivating him, maybe a more attent evaluation of the real and complete facts should be made.
In the end Italy finished in sixth position, behind Cyprus and Croatia. Ascione was the best with the 8th place, Corrias 10th and Felice 64th.
On day 2 Cristian Corrias, of the Italian Team, came to the harbour with a conger that was originally speared by an athlete from Chile, who made a complain, and decision was that Corrias would not be able to have any conger for weighing.
“On Day 2, a boat of Chile asked for our presence and told us they had a conger harpooned (with the spear) at the bottom, marked by a non official buoy. Italian Corrias arrived to place, saw the buoy and cought the conger, taking it to surface with two harpoons inside, so it was not a free fish.
Both commissars, Chile 1 and Italy 2, confirmed the facts, so I decided and communicated to Captain of Italy, Bardi, that Corrias will be sanctioned and not allowed to present to weighting any conger in his bag”, comments Perez.
Apart from Portugal and Spain, in Sagres new athletes from different countries made some good results. Dwane Herbert from New Zealand reached top 10 on day one, and finally he was 15th. “I am a little disappointed by second day and hoped to do better, but loved the event”, said the champion from New Zealand.
Spearo from Tahiti, Lamartiniere Dell, obtained 10th final position, while in the final first 20 positions were the South African spearo Jaco Blignaut and the Tunisian athlete Khaled Ghomrassi.
Apart from them, good results by Greek Peroulis, Ucranian Lagutin and Croatian Cubric, spearos from countries that are in the top on most competitions.
Checking the results of day 1 and 2, it is indeed true that the World Spearfishing Championship in Sagres was one of most unpredictable in last years, since after day one anyone in the first seven positions had the possibility to win the Title.
As additional information, Ahmet Tekin from Turkey cought the biggest fish of the competition, a rubberlip grunt of 6630 grams.