by Rob Kothe
The Australian sailing team showed today that they do not intend to duplicate their Athens performance, when they went into the Olympic regatta the top ranking sailing nation and came out medal free.
Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson (AUS).
Australian Sailing Team Director Michael Jones has been optimistic of a great outcome at the Olympic Games in the 470 class and it seems his optimism could be rewarded.
'Our 470 Coach Victor Kovalenko achieved double gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games with Tom King and Mark Turnbull (Aus) and Jenny Armstrong and Belinda Stowell. Our current Olympians repeated that result at the Olympic Sailing Test Event in Qingdao last year and they are well placed to do it again ' said Jones.
Well placed they are already.
The Australian 470 Womens crew, 22 year olds Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson followed their two seconds yesterday with a fourth and a final race win today. They are on nine points, second overall are Natalia Via Dufresne and Laia Tutzo (ESP) on 17 points with Marcelien de Koning and Lobke Berkhout (NED) third on 18 points.
Rechichi, who is just 48kg, wringing wet, loves light weather sailing. ‘We really enjoy sailing here. We prefer it to Europe. So this is not a chore, we love the light winds.
‘Today we sailed just really boringly, really conservatively, we were happy to be really patient, trying to save very smoothly. Nothing exciting really.’
Tessa Parkinson continued ‘we just want to maintain our rhythm. We were very fast upwind and a little better down-wind.'
470 veterans Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page have been sailing conservatively and they know how to win from here. The triple World Champions have announced their intention to retire after this regatta
Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page (AUS).
They followed yesterdays four and seven with a brace of threes today and now lead Nic Charbonnier and Olivier Bausset (FRA) by a point. Third are Onan Barreiros and Aaron Sarmiento of Spain.
36 year old Malcolm Page has been dieting for almost two decades. He smiled ‘Six Days to a Big Mac. But if we go really well we might manage one a few days early!’