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Aussies sailing towards future success

25 August 2010

Madison Kennedy and Mark Spearman have completed their sailing regatta contesting the medal race on the final day of competition at Singapore’s National Centre.

In the traditional medal race, where the result counts for double, Kennedy finished in 14th, as Canada's Sarah Douglas took the win.

Spearman came in 15th, with Just Van Aanholt from Netherlands Antillies taking the final victory of the regatta in the boys’ event.

The results from the medal race meant Kennedy held steady in the overall standings finishing her Singapore 2010 campaign in 20th position, while Spearman slipped slightly to 14th overall.

In the men’s overall standings, Ian Burrows of the US Virgin Islands claimed the gold, Florian Haufe of Germany took silver and Van Aanholt, boosted by his last race victory, grabbed bronze.

Austria’s Lara Vadlau, who had been in front since the fourth race, deservedly won the gold for the women, with Netherlands Daphne Van De Vaart claiming silver and Germany’s Constanze Stolz getting the bronze.

After a number races were cancelled due to a lack of winds, the sailors were greeted with 7 knot winds and a typical humid Singapore day. While Kennedy got a good start, matching it with eventual overall winner Vadlau, the Aussie couldn’t maintain the pace to finish midfield.

“I got a good start and I was next to Laura from Austria and was going pretty well but got caught in a bit of traffic and went back, but I was pretty happy.”

Spearman did his best to make up for a poor start but couldn’t quite finish with a top 10 position in the medal race.

“I had pretty good speed out there but my start wasn’t the best,” Spearman said.

"I caught up towards the end but it still wasn’t the best result.”

While they finished in the middle of the pack in Singapore, the Aussies know the experience they have gained will hold them in good stead for the future. “I think this regatta will definitely help me in future events,” Kennedy said.

“This was my second overseas regatta and think was a bit overwhelming so mentally this will help to build me up for next time I’m overseas.” “This regatta will definitely help me for the future,” Spearman added.

“We had the toughest youth sailors in the world here, so this is the competition I needed to help me improve.”

With a strong focus on helping athletes prepare for future international events, both the green and gold sailors believe Singapore 2010 has prepared them for an Olympic Games debut down the track.

“Experiencing a taste of the Olympics here definitely has me wanting to get to the Olympics in 2016,” Spearman said.

“It has pumped me up for 2016 so if I keep training hard, hopefully I can qualify and do better than I did here,” Kennedy added.

Watching from the coaches’ boat out with the sailors in the Singapore seas, coach Ben Callard said he was extremely satisfied with the efforts his sailors have put in throughout the six days of competition.

“They both did themselves quite proud. They did their best in every race, they both tried really hard the whole regatta,” Callard said.

“It was great to see them sailing around and good to see them finish with a smile on their face.”

After a taste of the Olympic experience under their belts, Kennedy and Spearman will now return to Australia to take on the nation’s best in the national titles later in the year.

Matt Bartolo

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