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Cracking day on water for Aussies

5 August 2012

SAILING: Australia’s Tom Slingsby has guaranteed himself at least a silver medal in the men’s Laser class after a stunning performance today saw him win both races. 

Taking to the waters of Weymouth Bay, Slingsby had good starts in both races and set the pace for the rest of the fleet all day.  With a lead of 14 points over nearest rival Pavlos Contides of Cyprus, Slingsby has to finish within six places of the Cypriot in Monday’s medal race to take the gold.  However Contides will be giving it his all.  He also is guaranteed at least a silver medal and his will be the first medal Cyprus has ever won at the Olympics Games in any sport! 

“He (Contides) has sailed so well all week,” said Slingsby after racing. “A couple of times today I thought I might get away from him in the points but he had some big comebacks and sailed really well.  You just can’t count him out.”

Slingsby wasn’t the only Aussie to get two bullets today.  In the men’s 470 class Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page also showed their world championship winning form leading the fleet around in both races.  The Aussies are currently first overall and are four points clear of their nearest rivals Team GB’s Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell. 

“We feel very comfortable in the yellow jerseys,” said Belcher.  “It’s not going to stop us sleeping at night, but we also realise there are still four races to go before the medal race.”  The 470 men will have a rest day tomorrow and return for races seven and eight on Monday. 

The winning ways continued for Australia’s women’s Elliott 6m Match Racing team of Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty. The Aussie girls had a convincing win over the Portuguese team and have now completed the opening round robin series of eleven races and are the only team undefeated.  The girls will have a break from sailing until Tuesday when they return to the water for the quarter finals against the Netherlands, where they will be looking to win the best of five matches. 

In the women’s 470 event Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell also had a great start to the day and were unlucky in their first race to be pipped by the Kiwis on the finish line. The Aussies crossed the line in third place in some very tight racing. In their second race some gear problems early on pushed them back in the fleet and they crossed the line in 12th position. They are currently lying seventh overall with six races remaining before the medal race. 

In the women’s RS:X event, Australia’s Jessica Crisp also had a great start to the day with a fifth in the first race and an eighth in the second.  Crisp is currently 11th overall and will be fighting to make the top ten in tomorrow’s two races in order to go through to Tuesday’s medal race. 

Melbourne sailor Krystal Weir finished her Olympic competition today in the Laser Radial in 12th position overall after a fourth and a 22nd in today’s two races. 

Looking forward to day nine, Australia will hit the water for two races in the 470 women, the 49ers and the RS:X women’s event. 

Megan McKay in Weymouth

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