Brits prepare for Qingdao finals
British sailors will be in the hunt for five medals on the first of the two finals days at the 2007 Olympic Test Event in Qingdao, China. today (22 August) with double Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie continuing to lead the charge.
The final double-points scoring medal races will be held for eight of the 11 classes on the first of the finals days on Wednesday, with Skandia Team GBR sailors currently occupying podium positions in the Finn, 49er, 470 men’s event and the RS:X women’s windsurfing category, with a shot a fifth spot in the Tornado class.
The 30-year-old Ainslie has racked up an impressive scoresheet at his first regatta back in the heavyweight Finn dinghy in a year, and heads into the 10-boat final with an 11-point lead over the second placed Croatian Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic. Ainslie posted a 6,5 from his two races on Tuesday, the first of which included a confrontation with the Croatian as he tried to squeeze Ainslie out at the finish line.
“I was pretty annoyed at the time,” Ainslie remarked when asked whether he was going to protest the incident, “but at this stage of the game it’s not worth taking it to protest and making too many enemies.
Wednesday will see Ainslie competing under the medal race format for just the second time since its introduction at the beginning of 2006. “It’ll be good to get the old match racing hat back on again!” Ainslie said, whose past two years have been spent match racing in the America’s Cup.
Bryony Shaw is in second place heading into the women’s RS:X windsurfing final. She’s just one point behind France’s Faustine Merret, who scored two firsts from her two races but was subsequently disqualified from the first of the two incidents following a port-starboard infringement with the Ukrainian competitor.
The 49er class were the only class not to see any racing on Tuesday, so World Champions Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes will start their final on equal points with the Danish Hansen brothers, Peter and Soren, with just eight points separating the top six boats.
Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield are up into the silver medal position on the 470 men’s leaderboard thanks to two threes from Tuesday’s two races – the Australian World Champions Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page are three points ahead in first place.
In the Tornado class, Leigh McMillan and Will Howden are in fifth place, three points off of the bronze medal position. “It was another tough day, but we were happy with the fourth, and happy to be within reach of the medals. Our goal for this regatta is a top 3 so we are still on track. The forecast is for a little more wind tomorrow, if you believe it!!”
Star sailors Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson moved into eighth place overall with 7,5 from today, but are out of medal contention in the men’s keelboat class, while the Yngling, Laser and Laser Radial classes all have another day of fleet racing on Wednesday ahead of their medal races on Thursday. World Champions Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson still lead the Yngling class, but are on equal points with American world silver medallists Sally Barkow, Carrie Howe and Debbie Capozzi in second.
Charlotte Dobson had her best day yet in the Laser Radial class to see her up to fifth overall, thanks to 3,5,3 from her three races, while European Champion Paul Goodison holds on to his lead in the Laser class.
Racing at the 2007 Olympic Test Event is scheduled through to Thursday 23 August.
2007 Qingdao International Regatta (Olympic Test Event)
1. Yuan Guo Zhou, CHN (7pts)
2. Tom Ashley, NZL (14pts)
3. Julien Bontemps, FRA (24pts)
11. Nick Dempsey (50pts)
1. Ben Ainslie, GBR (12pts)
2. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, CRO (23pts)
3. Jan Pieter Postma, NED (32pts)
1. Sarah Ayton-Sarah Webb-Pippa Wilson, GBR (14pts)
2. Sally Barkow-Carrie Howe-Debbie Capozzi, USA (14pts)
3. Renee Groeneveld-Annemieke Bess-Marije Kampen (20pts)
1. Paul Goodison, GBR (34pts)
2. Andrew Murdoch, NZL (35pts)
3. Rasmus Myrgren, SWE (44pts)
1. Anna Tunnicliffe, USA (22pts)
2. Jo Aleh, NZL (34pts)
3. Tine Mihelic, CRO (38pts)
7. Charlotte Dobson (48pts)
1. Iker Martinez-Xavier Fernandez, ESP (14pts)
2. Morgan Larson-Peter Spaulding, USA (18pts)
3.Nathan Outteridge-Ben Austin, AUS (19pts)
7. Stevie Morrison-Ben Rhodes (35pts)
1. 2. Nathan Wilmot-Malcolm Page, AUS (28pts)
2. Nick Rogers-Joe Glanfield, GBR (29pts)
3. Gidi Kliger-Udi Gal, ISR (41pts)
1. Ruslana Taran-Olena Pakholchyk, UKR (40pts)
2. AI Kondo-Naoko Kamata, JPN (42pts)
3. Elsie Rechichi-Tess Parkinson, AUS (46pts)
13. Christina Bassadone-Saskia Clark (88pts)
1. Xavier Rohart-Pascal Rambeau, FRA (13pts)
2. Flavio Marazzi-Christoph Christen, SUI (15pts)
3. Hamish Pepper-Carl Williams, NZL (15pts)
8. Iain Percy-Andrew Simpson (38pts)
1. Roman Hagara-Hans Peter Steinacher, AUT (8pts)
2. Darren Bundock-Glenn Ashby, AUS (13pts)
3. Johannes Polgar-Flarian Spalteholz, GER (20pts)
5. Leigh McMillan-Will Howden (23pts)
For more news and information from the event, visit http://www.skandiateamgbr.com/events/olytest/olytest.htm