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11 May 2004, 11:08 am
Mateusz Opens The Game
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Finn European Championship And Olympic Qualification Regatta
La Rochelle

A consistent first day of racing puts the Polish Finn favorite in the lead. Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ (POL) scored two second places in yesterday's races won by long time rivals Sebastien GODEFROID (BEL) and Emilios PAPATHANASIOU (GRE).
"The wind started light and shifty but the racing committee made a very good job changing the marks. They responded quickly and provided two great races." declared the 1996 Olympic Gold medallist.

After a postponement on shore, the wind pick to 8-10 knots and the first race finally started under black flag (after two general recalls). The current and shifty winds made racing tricky and the majority of the fleet started at the pin end of the line with race leaders played the shifts on the left. Soren HOLM (DEN) was first at the top mark but dropped to fourth. Sebastien GODEFROID made steady progress throughout the race to win in front of Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ (POL) and Clifton WEBB (NZL).

New Zealand are using the event as their final nomination regatta for for the Olympic Games and the battle was fierce between the three Kiwi's present. They finished within three places of each other with Clifton WEBB finishing third in front of Dean BARKER fourth and Peter FOX, sixth.

The wind increased in strength and stability for the second race, again the gains were made on the left side and Emilios PAPATHANASIOU led the race from start to end. " I started on the pin end and played the shifts in the middle. The wind was nice, like in Athens. I am not so used to the current here, but the racing was good." Second and third places went to Mateusz and Andrew SIMPSON (GBR).

First Junior in both races is Lei GONG from China. He is placed in 16 place after scoring a 30 and a 14.

Yesterday was the first Finn race for Daniel BIRGMARK from Sweden who finished second in his Laser Olympic trials. "I had fun today but it was tricky, especially at the top mark. There is more dirty wind than with the Laser and I had to go wide around the mark. Down wind was great fun. I love it."

Only one race is scheduled for today, results are currently unavailable but will be posted here as soon as they are published.
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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