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Gold Gold Gold for Australia?

by AST Media on 16 Aug 2008
Malcolm Page and Nathan Wilmot David Minnis-Bell http://www.470.org
The Australian Sailing Team is set to claim at least two medals, potentially three, after today’s race results put the Men’s and Women’s 470 teams into emphatic leads, and the 49ers go into their final race tomorrow to challenge from third place.

The Australian 470 Men’s crew of Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page need only to go through the formality of starting their medal race, which is scheduled for Monday 18 August, to claim a Gold Medal. With 42 points at the end of the preliminary race series, the pair has a 22 point lead after today’s race results of 16th, third and 10th take them into Monday’s medal race in first position. In their wake are The Netherlands (64 points) and France (66 points).

“An Olympic medal is the only thing not in the trophy cabinet, but it’s not quite there yet,” said Wilmot.

Their training partners, the Women’s 470 team of Elise Rechichi and Tessa Parkinson also have the Gold medal almost within their grasp. The only way they could lose the Gold is if they finish the medal race last and Dutch crew crosses the line first. Today’s race results of a third and a second have taken the Perth pair to 25 points, The Australian women have an 18 point lead on The Netherlands (43 points) and Brazil are third on 58 points.

“It’s one of the best series we’ve put together to date – consistent scores were our aim,” said Rechichi.

Reflecting on the difficulties the team has endured over the past few years, Tessa Parkinson was appreciative of their position as they returned to the boat park late this afternoon.

“You have to lose to know how much you really want to win,” said Parkinson.

Both 470 teams have a rest day tomorrow while their boats go into quarantine ahead of the medal race on Monday. It will be a long wait.

Tomorrow, Australia has the chance to win a medal in the 49er class. Nathan Outteridge and Ben Austin had mixed results in today’s shifty conditions with a 12th, second and 18th. They go into medal contention in third place with 61 points while Denmark lead on 47 points and Italy is second on 58 points.

Denmark would have to finish 8th and the Australians would have to win the medal race in order for Outteridge and Austin to claim Gold. With huge wind shifts creating very irregular race results to date, nothing is impossible and it should be noted the Australians have won three races in this regatta while Denmark has not yet won a race. The 49er results are provisional as there is a protest pending.

The 49er medal race is scheduled for 1pm Qingdao time (3pm Sydney time), Sunday 17 August, depending on conditions.

In the Tornado class Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby racked up finishes of fourth and third today and now sit in second place overall on 12 points. Spain lead on 8 points and Argentina third on 16 points.

The Laser Radial class only completed one race today. Sarah Blanck finished fourth to put her equal sixth overall with Great Britain on 28 points. New Zealand lead on 10 points, followed by Lithuania in second (16 points) and the USA in third (20 points).

Yngling medal race postponed until Sunday

Event organisers advised at 4:44pm local Qingdao time that the Yngling (Women's Keel boat) medal race in which Australia is represented had been abandoned due to lack of wind on Course A. It is now scheduled to start at 1pm Sunday.

Racing tomorrow – Sunday 17 August

- Yngling medal race scheduled for 1pm Qingdao time (3pm Sydney time)
- 49er medal race scheduled for 3pm Qingdao time (5pm Sydney time)
- Laser, Laser Radial, Star, Tornado and RS:X races continue pending weather conditions

Further information: www.australiansailingteam.com.au
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