Tuesday, August 12, 2008

ZUBARI Makes Headway In Light Breezes To Extend Lead In Men's RS:X

[Source: ISAF] Opening-day leader Shahar ZUBARI of Israel repeated his first and third place finishes to take an eight-point overall lead over his nearest rival at the end of day two of competition in the Men's Windsurfer - RS:X event.

The 21 year old world #14 was not one of the favourites coming into the Olympics and has raised eyebrows with his sizzling performances so far

"I like my dark horse status. I am quite young and the other sailors in the class have much more experience than me. Right now I am focused on each race from the start, and each leg for itself," Shahar ZUBARI said.

Shahar Zubari of Israel extended his overall lead with another bullet and a third in Tuesday's racing. Photo copyright Clive Mason/Getty Images

Hong Kong’s King Yin CHAN held on to second place overall with second and fifth places, but Aichen WANG (CHN) fell from third to seventh, a disastrous 16th in the soft, shifty breezes letting him down.

CHAN's coach Rene APPEL (NED) said: "To me, he was not very consistent today. Although he is still ranked number two, I am not satisfied. A good coach won't be quickly satisfied. I coached Lai Shan LEE (1996 Hong Kong Olympic gold medal winner) in 1996. I know what good sailors are. CHAN is definitely one of them."

Reigning World Champion Tom ASHLEY (NZL) moved up with a win in race 2 into third overall but lies 11 points behind the leader. "It wasn't as shifty as I expected. Today was about not doing anything stupid," the 23 year old said. After winning last year’s Test Event, ASHLEY knows what it takes to succeed in Qingdao. "The first half of the regatta is about trying to minimize mistakes. If you can get through that without a bad discard then you can go ahead and sail harder in the second half."

ASHLEY's main threats moved up the leaderboard too. Julien BONTEMPS (FRA) and Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) are right behind him in fourth and fifth.

The rest of the field have hard work ahead of them. Sixth-placed Maxim OBEREMKO (UKR) is on 32 points - 24 behind ZUABARI and the Olympic Format only allows one race score to be excluded from the Opening Series total (after five races are completed). World #1 Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL) is way back in 19th place with 85 points.

The RS:X windsurfers take a break on Wednesday and return for races 5 and 6 of the Opening Series on Thursday.



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