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28 March 2007, 10:09 am
Down To The Medal Races
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Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week 2007
Barcelona, Spain

The top crews at the ISAF Grade 2/3 Pharo Regatta-Barcelona Olympic Sailing Week go into the Medal Races today, with the Spanish hosts mounting strong challenges for top honours in two of the four classes. Three more races across the Laser and 470 fleets on Tuesday set up today's grandstand finish.
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After light and unstable winds plagued the Barcelona race courses on Monday, a 8-10 knot easterly yesterday brought a return to the favourable racing conditions experienced over the weekend. Seven Spanish crews have made the Medal Race fleets, where the top ten in each class will compete in a double-weighted, 20 minute windward-leeward race to decide the final positions.

In the Laser, the Tenerifian Javier HERNANDEZ (ESP) has a great chance of victory after a terrific performance on Tuesday. Scores of 1,4,5 put him just two points behind overall leader Gustavo LIMA (POR). In third place overall, Marcin RUDAWSKI (POL) is also not out of the gold medal running, lying just five points off LIMA's score.

In the Laser Radial, Lucia REYES (ESP) lost the overall lead with 3,3,10 scores. After a slow start on day one, Gintare VOLUNGEVICIUTE (LTU) has turned up the heat on her rivals, with a run of six straight bullets giving her a five point lead and making her a clear favourite to take victory. Susana ROMERO (ESP) is looking comfortable in third place, ten points ahead of Debbie HANNA (IRL).

Close Battles In The 470

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The Women's 470 fleet head
downwind
© Alfred Farre
Whilst Spanish teams made both of the 470 Medal Races, none are in a position to challenge for any of the top three places. In the women's fleet, overnight leaders Emmanuelle ROL and Anne-Sohie THILO (SUI) fell back to third after a black flag in the day's first race and then an 11th in the last. Fernanda SESTO and Consuelo MONSEGUR (ARG) move into the lead after a strong 4,2,2 finish to the opening series. However World Championship silver medallists Ai KONDO and Naoko TAMATA (JPN) are just two points behind them, so it looks like being a straight shoot out for gold between these two teams come the Medal Race.

Things are even tighter in the men's fleet, with four points covering the top three crews. Matthias SCHMID and Florian REICHSTAEDLTER (AUT) were looking strong in the lead until they went OCS in yesterday's final race, a result which saw their advantage over Panagiotis KAMBOURIDIS and Gera OROLOGAS (GRE) cut to a single point. The experienced Javier CONTE and Juan DE LA FUENTE (ARG) also moved into gold medal contention with a double bullet finish.

BOSW Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The Medal Races will decide things in Barcelona today:© Alfred Farre
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