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Team NZL Olympic Sailing Daily Wrap 19 August

by Jodie Bakewell-White on 19 Aug 2008
Andrew Murdoch (NZL) - 2008 Olympics Qingdao - Medal Race - Laser © Richard Gladwell

Today saw the conclusion of the Laser and Laser Radial classes,with Gold going to GBR and USA, race ten and the end of the opening series for the windsurfers and no racing for the Tornado and Star classes.

New Zealand’s Standings Summary

3rd - Tom Ashley, Men’s RS:X (after 10 races)
6th - Barbara Kendall, Women’s RS:X (after 10 races)
7th - Hamish Pepper & Carl Williams, Star (after 7 races)

5th - Andrew Murdoch, Laser (Final Result)
7th - Jo Aleh, Laser Radial (Final Result)
11th - Carl Evans & Peter Burling, Men’s 470 (Final result)
12th Dan Slater, Finn (Final result)

The stage is set for an almighty battle for the men’s windsurfing medals at the 2008 Olympic Games with kiwi Tom Ashley right in the mix. Just one point separates the top three in the men’s RS:X class - France’s Julian Bontemps, Great Britain’s Nick Dempsey and New Zealand’s Tom Ashley going into their medal race set to be sailed tomorrow off Qingdao.

Andrew Murdoch has finished 5th overall in the Laser class which wrapped up today the gold medal secured by Great Britain’s Paul Goodison, adding the third Olympic sailing gold for his nation at this Games. Olympic debutante Murdoch won today’s Laser medal race in front of a spectator packed break wall which lifted him up into the top five finishers in the 40 strong fleet.

Jo Aleh has finished 7th overall in the Laser Radial class after sailing their medal race today on course A soon after the Lasers. Aleh’s medal race today was defined when she had to return to the start line fearing she was over early, and never managed to get back in the race, crossing the line in 9th place.

Barbara Kendall moved from 7th overall up to 6th place on the women’s RS:X leader board after race ten sailed today, and while the five time Olympian has booked a spot in the medal race her chances of adding a fourth Olympic medal to her collection of three has slipped away. The points gap for her to now catch up with the leaders is too great to get to the podium tomorrow.

Despite race eight getting started and more than half way through, the lack of wind on course area E saw that race abandoned, and no further racing for the Star class today.

Men’s RS:X

The top ten to sail the medal race were decided today when race ten was sailed for the Men’s RS:X fleet. Things have closed up at the top of the standings and Tom Ashley’s three point leading margin after race nine has disappeared after he finished towards the back of the fleet today in very light conditions on course area B.

Ashley started well at the pin end forcing the others to tack away however after choosing to stay on the left the kiwi suffered dramatically when a 30 degree wind shift hit the course.

The kiwi discards his result from today, while those close on his tail in the standings both managed a decent finish in the race sailed today. Julien Bontemps of France now has the overall lead on 45 points while Nick Dempsey GBR and Ashley are both on 46 points, so it all comes down to tomorrows double-points medal race.

Neither Bontemps, Ashley or Dempsey is far enough ahead of the fleet on points to be assured of a medal just yet. Also in with a shot at a podium finish is early competition leader, Shahar Zubari of Israel. Zubari posted a 4th place in today’s race and is nine points back from Dempsey and Ashley, so a top medal race for him, combined with a poor performance for one of the leading trio could see him climb up.

Further back Ricardo Santos on 65 points has 5th place ahead of the deciding race tomorrow which leaves him an extreme outside chance to close the gap to the podium, though it’s near on impossible.

The Men’s and Women’s RS:X races will be sailed tomorrow with a scheduled start time of 1 o’clock local time.

Men’s RS:X (provisional)
Top five standings going into the medal race

1st FRA Julien Bontemps - 45 points
2nd GBR Nick Dempsey - 46 points
3rd NZL Tom Ashley - 46 points
4th ISR Shahar Zubari - 54 points
5th BRA Ricardo Santos - 65 points

Women’s RS:X

The women’s RS:X fleet rounded out their ten race series today with Barbara Kendall finishing 21st in the race. Today’s race becomes her discard and she manages to leap frog Klepacka of Poland into 6th place.

Despite advancing up the standings Kendall appears to be out of range of the podium with a 22 point gap up to the 3rd placed Shaw of GBR. Alessandra Sensini today relinquished the overall lead to Jian Yin of China, who won today’s race, a master in the extreme light conditions.

Women’s RS:X
Top six standings going into the medal race

1st CHN Jian Yin - 33 points
2nd ITA Alessandra Sensini - 38 points
3rd GBR Bryony Shaw - 41 points
4th AUS Jessica Crisp - 46 points
5th ESP Marina Alabau - 46 points
6th NZL Barbara Kendall - 63 points

Light winds out on course area E where the Star class race caused delays, and eventually abandonment of all racing for the day. The 16 boat fleet has only sailed seven races so far and have only tomorrow remaining in the schedule to conclude the planned ten race series before the medal race on Thursday.

If wind doesn’t appear tomorrow the series may be shortened for the Star class, though if time and breeze allow they will go for three races tomorrow.

Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams are lying 7th overall in the fleet at this stage with a five point gap up to third placed sailors Rohart and Rambeau of France. Despite the close points on the board the talent pool in this, the oldest Olympic sailing class, is phenomenal and the kiwi boys have got a challenge on their hands to finish strongly.

Star (provisional) top seven after 7 races

1st SWE Fredrik Loof & Anders Ekstrom - 23 points
2nd GBR Iain Percy & Andrew Simpson - 26 points
3rd FRA Xavier Rohart & Pascal Rambeau - 32 points
4th POL Mateusz Kusznierewicz & Dominik Zycki - 33 points
5th GER Marc Pickel & Ingo Borkowski - 36 points
6th POR Afonso Domingos & Bernardo Santos - 37 points
7th NZL Hamish Pepper & Carl Williams - 38 points

Andrew Murdoch performed best at the very start and the very end of the regatta, rounding out his first Olympic Games with a win in the medal race sailed today after also winning race nine yesterday afternoon.

In the extreme light winds Murdoch took the early lead in today’s medal race which got underway just after one o’clock off Qingdao. While GBR’s Paul Goodison was intent on doing what was required to secure gold – simply beat Rasmus Myrgren of Sweden to the finish line – Murdoch led the fleet around the course with only Vasilij Zbogar of Slovenia in touch.

Goodison won gold, Zbogar lifted to take silver for Slovenia, and Diego Romero of Italy benefitted from the misfortune of Myrgren to take bronze.

A few average results during the middle of the regatta was Murdoch’s undoing, and given his standing in 12th place going into the penultimate day of racing he did well to recover from there and score a top five placing.

Laser top five final results

Gold GBR Paul Goodison
Silver SLO Vasilij Zbogar
Bronze ITA Diego Romero
4th POR Gustavo Lima
5th NZL Andrew Murdoch

Laser Radial
The Laser Radial medal deciding race followed the Laser race of course A.

Jo Aleh’s hopes of a podium finish were dashed yesterday when she slipp

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