Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Gold for Britain and USA with Lasers centre stage in Qingdao

[Source: ISAF] Paul GOODISON won Great Britain's fourth medal and Anna TUNNCLIFFE won gold for the USA on day 11 of the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.

The host nation China also won their first medal of the Olympic Sailing Competition, with other podium places going to Slovenia, Italy and Lithuanian. With four events to go, 14 different nations have now won medals. With three golds and a silver, Great Britain are well ahead at the top of the medal standings.

The focus in Qingdao today was on the two One Person Dinghy fleets, with the Laser and Laser Radial Medal Races on course area A. Paul GOODISON (GBR) took an 18-point lead into the Laser Medal Race and ensured the gold medal was his by match racing his only rival Rasmus MYRGREN (SWE) to the back of the fleet. Unfortunately for MYGREN that cost him any hope of a medal and Slovenia’s Vasilij ZBOGAR took full advantage, finishing second in the Medal Race to win silver. Diego ROMERO of Italy won the battle for bronze.

The standings were much closer going into the Laser Radial Medal Race, with Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) just seven points ahead of Gintare VOLUNGEVICIUTE (LTU). When the American rounded the downwind mark in ninth place it looked as if Lithuania were on their way to gold. However TUNNICLIFFE showed why she’s the world #1 ranked skipper, spotting a big shift to the left of the course and staging a superb comeback to finish the Medal Race in second place and win gold. VOLUNGEVICIUTE took silver, winning Lithuania’s first ever Olympic medal in sailing, with China’s star Lijia XU taking the bronze.

Tomorrow it’s windsurfing’s turn to take the spotlight with the Men’s and Women’s RS:X Medal Races on course area A. Both RS:X fleets completed the final race of their Opening Series in light westerly winds earlier today. It was a great day for the Chinese windsurfers who scored bullets in both fleets. That means Jian YIN (CHN) takes a five-point lead over triple Olympic medallist Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) into tomorrow’s Medal Race, with Bryony SHAW (GBR) just three points further back. It’s also set to be a three-horse race in the men’s Medal Race, but the standings are even closer. Julien BONTEMPS (FRA), Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) and Tom ASHLEY (NZL) are separated by just one point with light wind specialist Shahar ZUBARI (ISR) just ten points off the lead in fourth.

The Tornado and Star fleets have their final three races of their Opening Series rescheduled for tomorrow after failing to complete any races today as the wind died out on course area A.



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