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1 March 2005, 02:57 pm
Olympians Dominate The Field
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Athens Eurolymp Week 2005
Athens, Greece

Athens has seen the return of many Greek Olympic sailors who have made their mark on this year's competition.
Sailors on the Saronikos Gulf are in their fourth day of racing in this year's Eurolymp Week. Fleets consisting of Greek, Cyprian, Bulgarian, Ukrainian, Italian and Turkish teams are taking part in the Olympic classes (minus the Star and Neil Pryde RS:X) in the ISAF Graded Event.

Last year saw a fleet studded with leading international stars using the event as a warm up for the Olympic Games. This year the big names from Greece and Cyprus are trying to re-establish their names at the top of the leader board, although they haven't gone unchallenged.

In the 470s Panagiotis MANTIS (GRE) and Theodoros POLIHRONIDIS (GRE) have overtaken Mihalis MILEOS (GRE) and Pavlos KAGIALIS (GRE) to lead by three points after eight of the eleven races. With MILEOS and KAGIALIS currently using their discard to negate an OCS in Race Three, the duo will have to tread carefully as they attempt to overhaul the leader.

MANTIS and POLIHRONIDIS have more than one rival for the title. In third place lies Panagiotis KABOURIDIS (GRE), ranked 29 in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings and runner up in the Eurolymps in 2003 with crew Aggelos LEMANIS. Just one point behind them is Greek star Andreas KOSMATOPOULOS with new crew Andreas PAPADOPOULOS. The Olympic helm, rated seventh best in the world by ISAF, has dominated the event since the millennium. However after wins in 2001, 2002 and 2003, perhaps his slip to fifth last year has shown his rivals that he is not invincible in this competition.

Another dominant figure in the Eurolymps is faring better in the Finn class. Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE) narrowly missed the Olympic podium in Athens but has won this event five times and looks like making it six. He's won every one of the nine races so far and with just two to go is almost assured of victory.

George PANAGIOTIDIS (GRE) and Alfonso PANAGIOTIDIS (GRE) lead in the 49er Fleet after taking three victories from the five races, although there is still plenty of racing to go in this 16 race series.

Andreas CARIOLOU (CYP) has gotten off to a flying start in the Mistrals with two firsts in two races. With an ISAF World Sailing Ranking of 17 and an Olympic finish of 13 CARIOLOU is on top form, although he is sure to be challenged by eighteen-year-old Veselin NANEV (BUL). The young Bulgarian is ranked just one place below him and also has experience of Olympic competition. Antonia FREY (GRE) is giving the rest of the field a strong female challenge, she lies in eleventh.

In the Laser fleet Iason GEORGARIS (GRE) has four race wins and leads from 2004 Olympian Vagelis CHIMONAS (GRE) after seven races. CHIMONAS will be hoping for a repeat of his victory in 2000 and with another Olympic sailor, Haris PAPADOPOULOS (CYP), right behind them in third this is sure to be a closely fought contest.No ALT tag specified

Virginia KRAVARIOTI continues to dominate the fleet in the Laser Radials. With four races remaining she is seven points clear of her nearest rival, Georgia HIMONA (GRE). After having sailed in Europes for her entire career, KRAVARIOTI changed direction after her ninth place at the 2004 Olympics and the selection of the Laser Radial as the women's single-handed equipment for 2008 and the move seems to be paying off.

Another Olympian heads the Tornado class. Jordanis PASCHALIDIS (GRE), 15 in the ISAF Sailing Rankings, leads after four race wins out of five with crew Kostas TRIGONIS. In the small Yngling fleet, Dimitra MILONA, Eleni PERSIA and Mari STEFANIDOU have won five of the eight races and look in a strong position with just three remaining.

The racing finishes tomorrow with the Prize Giving Ceremony ending the week.

ISAF, Image: © Event Media
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