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10 March 2005, 03:53 pm
Favourites Struggle In Split
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Split Olympic Sailing Week 2005
Split, Croatia

Racing started today in the Split Olympic Sailing Week with a four-race series completed in the Laser, Laser Radial, 470 Men and Women and Finn events.
In the Laser Olympic bronze medallist Vasilij ZBOGAR (SLO) is currently struggling down in fifth place, seemingly unable to get to grips with fleet leader Milan VUJASINOVIC (CRO). Tenth in the 2004 World Championship, VUJASINOVIC looks to be right on form. Ranked 26th in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings (compared to fifth for ZBOGAR), he took bullets in the first three races followed by a second place to make an imperious start to his campaign. Five points behind him is fellow Croatian Luka RADELIC and a further point back is Mate ARAPOV (CRO), ranked twelve in the recent ISAF World Sailing Rankings.

In seventh and eighth position lie two younger competitors beginning to make their mark on the class after success at the World Championships at youth level. Tonci STIPANOVIC (CRO) and Tonko KUZMANIC (CRO), Laser Radial Youth World winner in 2002, are names we are sure to be seeing again in the future.

With so many highly ranked sailors in this ISAF Grade 3 event the outcome is sure to be fiercely contested and VUJASINOVIC will have to stay at the top of his game if his dominance is to continue.

Being new Olympic equipment the Laser Radial is still seeing many new sailors switching over from the Europe and that is borne out by the small field in Split. In fourth place Gea BARBIC (CRO) will be looking to earn ranking points although so far Mateja PETRONIJEVIC (CRO) is making the leaderboard look like a copy of the Laser with three wins and a second place from four races.

Ivan KLJAKOVIC GASPIC (CRO) leads the Finn after winning the first two races of the week. Right behind him is Marin MISURA (CRO) who took bullets in races three and four and will be keen to defend his ISAF World Sailing Ranking of 20 with 21st placed Stefan DE VRIES (NED) right behind him in third.

The 470 sees a smaller number of competitors. Again though, it is not the favourites who are leading. Sime FANTELA and Igor MARENIC (CRO) won race four to put them top of the leaderboard with nine points. Three points back is Karlo KRPELJEVIC, winner of the Laser Radial World Championship in 2002 and third in 2003, with crew Josko LALIC (CRO). After a disappointing seventh in race one KRPELJEVIC and LALIC came back with a second and two firsts to leave them looking strong when the discards come into play. Leading the women's fleet is Alja CERNE and Teja CERNE (SLO).

ISAF. Image:© Event Media
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