by Lindsey Bell
Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Lasers and skyscrapers.
The Laser and Laser Radial classes saw their first day of Olympic action on Tuesday, with four-time European Champion Paul Goodison, and Olympic debutant Penny Clark both within the top eight after their first two races.
Clark saw a superb start to her Olympic regatta, finishing second in the first race of the day for the women’s single-handed Laser Radial fleet. The second race proved tougher in the light winds, with the 33-year-old finding the wrong side of the course to where the main pressure was. She finished 20th to see her into eighth place overall.
'It is really difficult when you are down in the pack because it is so, so difficult to go anywhere. I proved that in the second race today but hopefully I’ll learn from it and move on and get some better results.
'The first race was fantastic – I proved to myself I can do. We know it is going to be a pretty high scoring regatta and so no one is going to run away with it. You just have to bounce back and it is who can bounce back best who will win in the end.'
For Goodison, on the other hand, the day got better as it went along. With a 15th place in the first race, he rallied to a second in the second race to finish the day in sixth overall.
'Unfortunately I was never quite in the right position on the first leg and never settled into it after that,' said the 30-year-old of his opening race. 'It was then just a case of trying to minimise the damage after that.
'The second race was a bit better the breeze was a lot more solid, a bit fairer race and I started reasonably well. It was a bit tricky half way up and I clawed my way back into it and got second.
'Today was really just about getting into it,' Goodison continued. 'It has been a long time waiting and I would like to have started better than I have, but the conditions were tricky out there, and I have fought back and did not pick up any flags or letters.
Asked about his main opposition, Goodison replied: 'It is tricky to try and think about the other guys out there and you can’t really try and influence them. I am surprised Tom [Slingsby] was not a little better, but then that is no bad thing.'
Overall Leading positions after day 4
Laser after 2 races
1. NZL - Andrew Murdoch 7 pts
2. ITA - Diana Daniela 9 pts
3. ARG - Julio Alsogaray 13 pts
4. POR - Gustavo Lima 13 pts
5. CYP - Pavios Kontides 15 pts
6. GBR - Paul Goodison 17 pts
Laser Radial after 2 races
1. USA - Anna Tunnicliffr 9 pts
2. BEL - Evi Van Acker 11 pts
3. FRA - Sarah Steyaert 12 pts
4. LTU - Gintare Volungeviciute 16 pts
5. AUS - Sarah Blanck 17 pts
6. CRO Mateja Petronijevic 17 pts
9. GBR - Penny Clark 24 pts
RYA website - www.rya.org.uk/beijing2008