Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page, Australia's Golden Boys, are en route to Australia with some more silver.
by Lynn Fitzpatrick
Australia's minerals and mining sector is churning out precious metal and Belcher and Page returning home with precious medals. After spending a month in Miami competing in the 2011 470 North America Championship and the Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta,the ISAF 1 ranked 470 Men's sailors won gold at the North Americans and took the silver at the Miami OCR.
Belcher and Page battled back from a slow start in their second ISAF World Cup regatta of the year. They were bookended on the podium by the two British teams that smoked them out of the starting blocks earlier in the week. Nic Asher and Elliott Willis won the gold medal at the Miami OCR, while Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell won the event bronze.
Belcher/Page were among the top three boats to finish in the majority of the qualifying races. Their consistency put them in third place going into the double-point medal race. Winning the regatta was a bit of a long shot; yet securing the silver medal was within their reach.
'It was all good. Going into to the medal round in third and coming out in second was a bonus,' said Page. 'It's difficult to control everything in the medal race. We did what we could to improve our position. The chips didn't fall that well for Patience and Bithell, and we were able to put enough boats between us so that we beat them in the regatta,' said Page.
Coach Victor Kovalenko is visibly pleased with his team's performance. 'It was amazing trip for the 470's. They won North American Championship and one week later they were second at the Miami World Cup event. They are still number one in the ISAF world ranking and leading World Cup,' said Kovalenko. In fact, the Belcher & Page London Challenge 2012 team has won the gold or silver medal at every World Cup and ISAF graded regatta in which the team has competed since the Delta Llloyd Regatta in Medemblick, Holland in May 2010.
Going forward, the Australians will divide their training schedule between sailing 470's and preparing for the 2011 Farr 40 World Championship in Page's Sydney Harbour stomping grounds. Once the Farr 40 Championship ends on February 26th, you can bet that Page's focus on becoming the first Australian sailor to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals will intensify. Belcher & Page's next major 470 event is 2011 Australian 470 Championships, which take place March 8 - 12th at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Belcher's home club. The drawing for the Belcher & Page Dream Raffle, which offers extraordinary prizes from the Moorings, Audi and qualia on Hamilton Island, will coincide with the Australian 470 National Championship. Final Results - 470 Men's
2011 Rolex Miami Olympic Classes Regatta
1. Asher/ Willis (GBR) - 1, 3, 5, 2, 6, 10, 10, , 2, 6 - 45.00
2. Belcher/ Page (AUS) - 2, 8, 10, 3, 3, 12, 2, 3, , 10 - 53.00
3. Patience/ Bithell (GBR) - 3, 2, 2, 5, 1, 8, 1, , 13, 20 - 55.00
4. Leboucher/ Garos (FRA) - 10, 13, 4, 10, 5, , 5, 8, 1, 2 - 58.00
5. Kliger/ Sela (ISR) - , 10, 7, 13, 4, 1, 13, 5, 10, 4 - 67.00
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9:29 PM Sun 30 Jan 2011 GMT
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