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CHN bullets in RS-X races, HKG in the frame

by Rob Kothe and Guy Nowell, Sail-World.com on 11 Aug 2008
Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Chan King Yin (HKG) and Shahar Zubari (ISR) racing for the finish line. Zubari made it by a whisker. Guy Nowell © http://www.guynowell.com

Womens RS:X started the first race of the 2008 Olympic regatta in Qingdao this afternoon. The fleet started in a breeze of ten knots. Australia’s Jessica Crisp led for most of the first beat but over the last 50 metres, China’s Jian Yin sailing inside her to lead by a second at the top mark, ahead of World number one ranked Marina Albau (ESP) and Olha Masliverts from Ukraine.

The Chinese champion surfed away by another 12 seconds down the run from Crisp, who had herself extended the gap from Albau by 30 seconds. Masliverts was just a few lengths back.

The tide was ripping at the top mark and down the second run the leaders enjoyed surfing in clear air, Yin added another couple of boat lengths to her lead.

Yin (CHN) was the clear winner, from Crisp (AUS), Albau (ESP), Masliverts (UKR), Bryony Shaw (GBR), Alessandra Senseni (ITA) was seventh, Barbara Kendall (NZL) 12th, Chan Wai Kei (HKG) 14th and Zofia Klepacka (POL) was 19th.

By the time the Men’s RS:X first race started the wind had dropped to eight knots but was steady from the east. China’s Aichen Wang was cheered by the onshore crowds as he rounded the top mark, just 200 metres off the Qingdao sea-wall, just a length ahead of Maksym Oberemko (UKR), followed closely by Makamoto Tomozawa (JPN) and Shahar Zubari (ISR).

By the third mark the Israeli had taken the lead, Wang (CHN) finished two length behinds, then there was a big gap back to Oberemko (UKR) and then Tom Ashley (NZL) with an excellent effort coming from 11th at the first mark, and Hong Kong's Chan King Yin in 5th place.

There was still a useful eight knots blowing for the start of the second races for both Men and Women. After one general recall followed by a black flag, Yin Jian (CHN) led the ladies away and just never looked back, first round every mark and first across the finish line by a country mile (actually, 29 seconds, but that's a long way on the water). Alessandra Sensini (ITA) tried to play catch-up all the way round the course, but fell short of Yin's blistering pace. Bryony Shaw (GBR) came home 3rd, followed by Jessica Crisp (AUS) and Marina Alabau (ESP).

Julien Bontemps (FRA) found the conditions to his liking and, just like Yin Jian, led from start to finish. After a brief challenge from David Mier Y Teran (MEX), it was Nikolaos Kaklamanakis (GRE) who played bridesmaid all the way round the course, finishing just ten seconds back. Israel's Shahar Zubari, who displaced Athens gold medallist Gal Fridman for this Olympic slot, scooted past Chan King Yin (HKG) on a puff in the last yards before the finish line to take third.

Results from two races put Hong Kong's Chan King Yin in second place behind Zubari (ISR), and obviously Yin Jian (CHN) leads the Women's fleet ahead of Jessica Crisp (AUS).

'It's a good start,' said Hong Kong coach Rene Apppel. 'We have Chan King Yin on second and Chan Wai Kei on ninth overall. These two have plenty of power in them and I am very happy with their opening performance.'

Asked about Yin Jian's fast start to the series, Appel said 'she looks pretty unbeatable, doesn't she?'.

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