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8 July 2011, 08:06 am
Echavarri and Rodriguez Are Star European Champions
Star Podium
The Star Podium in Helsinki, Finland

Open European Championship
Helsinki, Finland

Spanish duo Fernando Echavarri and Fernando Rodriguez Rivero are the new European Champions in the Star class. They won Thursday's Medal Race and the whole competition ahead of their main opponents from Greece.
"I feel really good! The work we've done in the past months has finally paid off", said Rodriguez rivero. "Naturally we're very happy with our performance. It was very close, but in the end we had some luck also", continued Fernando EchÁvarri.

Emilios Papathanasiou and Alexandros Dragoutsis (GRE) were left fifth in the Medal Race, which was still enough for the silver. The Greek were in fact leading the class until yesterday, when the Spaniards moved ahead by just one point.

"To go into the final race with such a small lead in points doesn't matter that much. Everything can change in the Medal Race", Echavarri said.

On Thursday morning the winds surrounding racing areas in Helsinki were very light. Therefore the Race Officer decided that it was best to wait for better conditions ashore. Stars finally got their Medal Race going at 13:30. In the start, Echavarri and Papathanasiou chose the opposite sides of the course. Echavarri was first on the upper mark and managed to hold the lead all the way until the finish line.

Japan's Kunio Suzuki and Daichi Wada placed fourth in the Medal Race. This meant that they took home bronze medals.

Sailors outside of the top ten in the Star Class didn't compete at all because of the lack of wind.

Laser Standard and Laser Radial will have their Medal Races (for the best 10 sailor both class) on Friday, starting at 12:00 local time.

You can find official results and follow live tracking at www.openeuropeans2011.com
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