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15 July 2009, 04:25 pm
SPITHILL Shows Great Form Ahead Of ISAF Women's Match Racing Worlds
Katie SPITHILL, centre, celebrates victory in Marstrand
Katie SPITHILL, centre, is the form skipper ahead of this year's worlds

ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship 2009
Lysekil, Sweden

The countdown is on to the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in Lysekil, in Sweden, from 27 July-1 August, with eight of the 12 competing teams already having faced off at the prestigious regatta Match Cup Sweden at Marstrand.
Australian Katie SPITHILL won the regatta at Marstrand, showing great form with strong, solid sailing in the DS 37, the same boat type to be used at the World Championship in Lysekil. SPITHILL, ranked #2 on the Women's ISAF World Match Race Ranking list, has a silver medal from the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in France 2007. She has participated in several regattas in Lysekil but has never made the podium in the waters of Lysekil.

"To have won in Marstrand was an amazing experience for me, and something I didn't dream of doing this year," she said. "But the world championship in Lysekil is now a new event in a new location, so it starts all over again. All of the competitors in this year's world championship are to be watched, it is a great line up and will be a tough event for everyone."

With a fifth place in Marstrand, it is the first time the two-time and reigning World Champion Claire LEROY (FRA) has not made it to the podium in a big competition in several years. Could this indicate that her strong hold of women's match racing has weakened? The gold medal in Lysekil is a very open battle, with several strong contenders. But LEROY remains calm, "Marstrand was a work race," she revealed. "We tested a lot of things and we are happy to have had this opportunity before Lysekil. We enjoyed watching the matches in the semis and the finals and we studied the other teams thoroughly, taking a lot of notes. So, for us our goal was achieved, we came to Marstrand to watch the others."

One potential medallist for the World Championship in Lysekil is 25-year old Swede Anna KJELLBERG, who has climbed in one year from 23 to 10 on the Women's ISAF World Match Race Ranking list. KJELLBERG no longer counts as a rookie, and with stable results this last year has proved that she belongs in the top elite. In the finals against SPITHILL at Marstrand, KJELLBERG was tough opposition. She is considered to be a tough skipper, sailing fast with good boat handling.

Linda RAHM (SWE), ranked #4 on the World Ranking list, has had a tougher year with not as good results as expected, but with her third place in Marstrand she showed her opponents to be a force to watch out for in Lysekil. Local RAHM has two consecutive wins in the previous years' races in Lysekil and is considered tough to beat in her home waters and with the boat type DS 37.

ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship 2009 - Lysekil Women's Match
Competing skippers - ISAF World Ranking

Claire LEROY (FRA) - 1
Katie SPITHILL (AUS) - 2
Lucy MACGREGOR (GBR) - 3
Linda RAHM (SWE) - 4
Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN) - 5
Silke HAHLBROCK (GER) - 6
Sally BARKOW (USA) - 7
Nicole SOUTER (AUS) - 8
Anna KJELLBERG (SWE) - 10
Camilla ULRIKKEHOLM (DEN) - 13
Christelle PHILIPPE (FRA) - 19
Marie BJORLING (SWE) - 43

Lysekil Women's Match - www.lysekilwomensmatch.se

All the latest details on the 2009 Worlds, together with a full archive of results from previous championships is available on the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship microsite at www.sailing.org/wmatchworlds.

Josefine Ås
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