|RIZHAO, CHINA-(12-9-2006) Two races were completed today to finalize the qualification for the Men’s and Women’s Medal Race that will take place tomorrow as the 470 World Championship highlight. In the Men’s Fleet Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE and Nic ASHER and Elliot WILLIS will feature in the “Grand Final” as sailors with best chances for Gold, while also Croatia and Israel are still in the race for the Championship Title. 470 Women Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT will have to face double competition from Japan, Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA, and Yuka YOSHISAKO and Noriko OKUMA.
Racing started at noon in light winds of 5-8 knots average coming from sea. The breeze was steady, however complex conditions were created by the combination of a choppy sea, breeze occasionally doubling from 4 to 8 knots and currents changing direction and strength.
The current standings are a result of twelve races during six days, 147 teams from 33 countries all over the world, featuring Olympic Medallists, reigning and former World and European Champions, all fighting to represent their country at the Olympic Games in Beijing 2008.
470 Men from Australia and Great Brittain have best cards for gold
Australia’s Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE and Nic ASHER and Elliot WILLIS from Great Brittain have both increased their number of points by thirteen as a sum of gained scores during today’s racing. This leaves yesterday’s situation of only one point difference unchanged.
Sven and Kalle COSTER from the Netherlands, in a third overall position overnight, have a terrible day and drop hard to seventh by an eighteenth and twenty-fifth position in resp. race eleven and twelve.
Sime FANTELA and Igor MARENIC from Croatia scored a more secure set of results, and so did Gideon KLIGER and Udi GAL from Israel. With Australia and Great Brittain they will decide on the Gold Medal.
French 470 Men, the BONNAUD brothers, and Nicholas CHARBONNIER and Olivier BAUSSET do good on the last day of Medal Race Qualifying races and find themselves a position for tomorrow’s World Championship highlight, although it looks like it’s too late for Medals.
Races were exciting today. Although result listings look like yesterday’s leaders chose for secure defensive sailing today, the truth was a true battle on the course where sailors had to give and take.
“Important for the sailors today was to take the most favorable side of the course at the start, and to have the ability to switch strategy depending on the prevailance of wind or current during the race.” said Dutch coach Dick COSTER
Holland and Japan to decide for Gold in the 470 Women’s Medal Race.
Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT come back into their pattern and take back the number one position on the leaderboard with a third and fifth place. Overnight leaders Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA from Japan created a very good chance for themselves yesterday to go into the Medal race in a very convenient position, but also they fall like a runner in an exhausting final phase of this Championship by a twenty-fifth position in race eleven. An athlete never gives up and so they secure their chances for a medal by crossing the finish line as third in today’s last race.
No country has bigger chances for a medal like Japan. Yuka YOSHISAKO and Noriko OKUMA were the opening leaders of the event and they have managed to stay within the top three of overall results during this event every day. With fourteen points behind the Dutch leaders, they can still bring Gold to Japan.
Christina BASSADONE and Saskia CLARK From Great Brittain and Therese TORGERSSON and Vendela ZACHRISSON score under average and weaken their chances for a medal.
German Ladies Stefanie ROTHWEILER and Vivien KUSSATZ surprise the Women’s Fleet today Right at the moment as it’s not expected they attack with an eighth position and a bullet, which brings them into the Medal race finals after all.
The Top ten of the Men’s and Women’s Gold Fleets will conclude the event and decide on Medals tomorrow in the Medal Race starting at 13:30 local time (GMT +8)