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Australia in scramble for 2.4mR Bronze at Paralympics

Mixed results in light breezes on the Saronic Gulf at the 2.4mR course at the Paralympic Games has lifted Australia’s Peter Thompson from seventh place back into fifth. However, it is not enough to give him the points he needs to claim a Gold medal, only the Bronze still within striking distance – if he sails a good final race.

Backing up his second place in Race 6, Thompson grabbed another second in the first race overnight, Race 7 to lift himself up the leaderboard. Unfortunately, in Race 8, Thompson stumbled and came home eighth – not good enough in this strong fleet.

Like the Sonar class, the 2.4mR has come down to the wire for Gold. In one corner, the leader for the past couple of days, Frenchman, Damien Seguin. In the other, the ‘chaser’, USA’s Thomas Brown.

Both are on 17 points going into the final race, Brown, with nerves of steal, sealing his Gold chances by winning Race 7 and finishing third in Race 8. Seguin, just as strong, finished 3-2. Race 8 should be an exceedingly interesting one.

Surprisingly, the Gold medal winner from Sydney, Germany’s Heiko Kroeger, is in fourth overall, having struggled throughout to keep pace with the top three players. A 17th place in Race 6 killed any chance he had of winning Gold. He is now only five points in front of Peter Thompson.

The two will fight it out for Bronze with Dutchman,Thierry Schmitter, who is ten points clear of Kroeger and looking good to take the third medal. Thompson may find himself in the same place he finished at Sydney 2000 - fourth, just missing the Bronze.

Of his performance today, Brown said, ‘I got off the line well today and I have to do it one more time.’

On Heiko Kroeger he commented, ‘I have a lot of respect for him and I am sorry he is having such a bad regatta. He is a great champion and he made 2.4mR boat what she is today. I would be sailing something else if Heiko wasn’t sailing this boat.’

Kroeger is not pleased with himself, telling reporters this morning, ‘of course I am not happy. I wasn’t good enough in both races. It’s as simple as that.’

He went on to say he had failed to defend his title, ‘because I wasn’t fast and my tactic wasn’t good enough.’

On who will win the gold medal Kroeger said, ‘I think that Tom BROWN (USA) should win the gold medal. Why? Because I like him more.’ Ouch!

Results with one race remaining:

1 SEGUIN Damien FRA 1 1 4 5 1 (6) 3 2 - 17

2 BROWN Thomas USA 4 2 1 1 (5) 5 1 3 - 17

3 SCHMITTER Thierry NED 3 3 2 (6) 3 4 4 1 - 20

4 KROEGER Heiko GER 2 4 3 3 7 (17) 6 5 - 30

5 THOMPSON Peter AUS (10) 5 5 4 9 2 2 8 - 35

by Di Pearson


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10:35 PM Wed 22 Sep 2004 GMT

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Paralympic Sailing

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