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26 July 2011, 03:59 pm
Over 100 Laser Sailors Venture To Weymouth
Evi Van Acker
Evi Van Acker (BEL) At The Delta Lloyd Regatta

Weymouth and Portland International Regatta
Weymouth and Portland, Great Britain

Over 100 Laser and Laser Radial sailors will make the trip to the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, the Olympic Test Event, from 31 July to 13 August as the sailors' countdown to the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.
Fifty six Laser sailors and 49 Laser Radial sailors will represent their nation in a bid to get the upper hand on Olympic waters with one year to go.

Nine of the world's top ten Laser Radial sailors will be represented in Weymouth with World #1 and ISAF Sailing World Cup Laser Radial Champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and World #2 and ISAF Sailing World Cup Laser Radial Runner Up Evi Van Acker (BEL) set to renew their rivalry.

Throughout the 2010-2011 ISAF Sailing World Cup very little separated the Dutch girl and the Belgian. At the end of the seven regatta series Bouwmeester pipped Van Acker to the title by a single point following back to back regatta victories at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, the Netherlands and Skandia Sail for Gold at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, Great Britain.

Van Acker was second to Bouwmeester on both occasions but finished ahead of her with two podium finishes at US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR and Trofeo S.A.R. Princess Sofia MAPFRE.

Ireland's Annalise Murphy will fancy her chances when the Laser Radials commence sailing in Weymouth following her bronze medal at Skandia Sail for Gold. As will World #3 Paige Railey (USA) who won gold at US SAILING's Rolex Miami OCR and Kieler-Woche.

2008 Beijing Olympic Games silver medallist Gintare Volungeviciute Scheidt (LTU) and bronze medallist Lijia Xu (CHN) will also sail in the fleet.

In the Laser fleet ISAF Rolex World Sailing of the Year Tom Slingsby (AUS) will be the favourite heading into the regatta after he comprehensively won the ISAF Sailing World Cup Laser title by 19 points over Simon Grotelueschen (GER). The World #1 won gold at Skandia Sail for Gold by 16 points ahead of Andrew Murdoch (NZL) and finished on the podium at all five ISAF Sailing World Cup Regattas he sailed in.

2008 Beijing Olympic Sailing Laser gold medallist Paul Goodison (GBR) finished third at Skandia Sail for Gold and with home advantage the Brit will be looking to finish at the top of the podium. New Zealand's Murdoch came second at Skandia Sail for Gold and will certainly be a contender for top spot come the end of the regatta.

With the fleet also consisting of World #5 Julio Alsogaray (ARG), European Laser Champion Tonci Stipanovi? (CRO) and 2009-2010 ISAF Sailing World Cup Laser Champion Javier Hernandez (ESP) it will make for a fantastic regatta ahead of the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Malaysia's Khairulnizam Mohd Afendy finished fifth in the Laser Radial at the 41st ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship in Zadar, Croatia and the youngster will be sailing with the world's best in Weymouth as he begins his Olympic pursuit.

The Laser and Laser Radials begin racing on 5 August before the Medal Race on 12 August.
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