Sailjuice - Two great Medal Races
by Andy Rice - Sailjuice on 20 Aug 2008
The RS-X Medal Races were real nailbiters today. They took place in the brightest, sunniest conditions we've seen in Qingdao. Not quite enough to get the boards planing though, so plenty of wind whacking going on.
2008 Olympics - RS:X Womens - Medal Race © Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz
Jian Yin sailed out of her skin, the Chinese sailor looking out of medal contention at one point, but working her back into third place by the finish, good enough to give her gold. Alessandra Sensini sailed a sensational run to get past Bryony Shaw and into the lead, while Shaw held off Yin across the finish line and took bronze - in the end quite comfortably - from Spain's Marina Alabau.
It was great to see the local people go crazy over the first gold in Qingdao. Sensini and Shaw looked almost as happy with their silver and bronze. This is the Italian's fourth medal, to add to her gold and two bronzes. She is the most prolific female medal winner. Others have won two golds, but Sensini's longevity is impressive in such a physically demanding class. 'I've been doing this for 25 years,' said the 38 year old, 'and some girls in this fleet are less than 20 years old.'
It wasn't such good news for the Brits in the RS-X Men, with Nick Dempsey letting a medal slip from his grasp in the dying stages of an extremely short race, a one-lapper which last just 19 minutes and 3 seconds. After starting too early, Israel's Shahar Zubari went back, restarted, sailed up the right, found some favourable breeze and rounded in 3rd place at the windward mark. He got past Tom Ashley (NZL) down the run and held 2nd place to the finish, behind Hong Kong's King Yin Chan.
Zubari's comeback earned him bronze by two points from Dempsey. Silver went to Julien Bontemps, and gold to Ashley - a much needed medal for New Zealand.
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