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Israel streaks away to win Gold – Australia fifth in Sonar at Paralympics

by Di Pearson on 24 Sep 2004
Dor Cohen and his Israeli crew were dominant throughout the Paralympics in the three-person Sonar class and overnight won Gold by a convincing nine points.

The Netherlands Udo Hessels and crew won Silver, with the USA’s team John Ross-Duggan taking Bronze, a further nine points in arrears.

Sydney 2000 Gold medallist, Australian Jaimie Dunross and his crew of Jeff Milligan and Colin Harrison had to be satisfied with fifth place, finishing their regatta with an eighth place in the final race, which was sailed in light to moderate south-westerly breezes.

Cohen and his crew deserved Gold, winning four of the nine races sailed and only finishing outside a top four place on one occasion. Following his win, Cohen commented, 'we are very happy for ourselves and for Israel. The flag of our country is up now. We enjoyed a great week so we have to thank you for organising such a nice regatta.'

Hessels, who also sailed well, never finishing worse than sixth spoke of their Silver medal performance explaining, 'we could have done better but the Israelis were too good this time so I am not disappointed.'

'A long holiday is what I'm planning to do. Then I'll return to my job where hopefully they will applaud me,' he added.

Ross-Duggan, whose team earlier in the Games looked like the ones to beat, but had to settle for Bronze related their battle and subsequent one point win over the German Jens Kroker skippered crew.

'They beat us by six seconds in the finish and we beat them by one point in the overall standings.' That's sports but I feel like we should share the medal. Maybe we should give them one half of the Bronze.'

For Jamie Dunross and his crew from Western Australia, it was shattered dreams. Dunross, in particular, wanted that Gold for the skipper whom he won Gold with in Sydney, Noel Robbins, who was tragically killed in a car accident early last year.

The three showed moments of brilliance and at one stage were second placed, but it was not to be, however they had some good results including two second places, but did not sail consistently well as the top three did.

Since the inaugural Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games, the competition has gone to a new level, and like our Olympic team, our Paralympians have not had the advantage of sailing in light airs in Europe against the main competition from Europe and America – a distinct disadvantage.

Final top five results:

1 COHEN Dror S ISR 1 (16) 4 1 4 4 3 1 1 - 19

2 HESSELS Udo S NED (6) 4 5 4 2 3 2 2 6 - 28
van de VEEN Marcel C1
ROSSEN Mischa C2

3 ROSS DUGGAN John S USA 3 1 3 6 6 6 7 5 (10) - 37
JOHNSON Bradley C2

4 KROKER Jens S GER (9) 8 2 2 3 1 6 7 9 - 38

5 DUNROSS Jamie S AUS 2 6 6 5 7 2 8 (10) 8 - 44
NaiadZhik Dinghy 660x82Southern Spars - 100