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6 April 2007, 10:39 pm
Kiwis Lead The Way In The Medal Races
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Princess Sofia Trophy 2007
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

The excellent weather conditions of the Bay of Palma arrived for the last day of competition and set the scene for a series of spectacular Medal Races at the 38th ISAF Grade 2 Princess Sofia Trophy - Mapfre. It turned up to be a great day for the Kiwis, with a double gold medal haul in the RS:X events and three other podium finishes.
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Apart from New Zealand's victories in the two windsurfing events, the gold medals in the nine other Olympic Classes went to nine different nations - Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia, Great Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal and the USA - a reflection of the competition within the fleets as the ISAF Sailing World Championships approaches.

On Friday the focus was on the battle for the podium, with the top ten crews in each Olympic Class progressing through to the Medal Race. Scores counted for double points and results were non-discardable. With the highest quality fleet ever assembled in Palma, very close competition throughout the week and tight standings before the Medal Racing began, there was a definite sense of tension in the air as the top competitors prepared. A southerly wind of 12-14 knots gave the sailors the perfect opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and they did just that.

Kiwi Double

Veteran sailor Barbara KENDALL (NZL), sailing in Women's RS:X, was declared overall winner of the 38th edition of the regatta. KENDALL, who has three Olympic medals and three World titles, used all her experience in the Medal Race, coming in one place ahead of her closest rival Charline PICON (FRA) to take the title. A great race for world #1 Marina ALABAU (ESP) pushed her up into third place, and gave the home Spanish team their solitary medal of the regatta.

Tom ASHLEY (NZL) won New Zealand's second gold in a similarly close Medal Race in the Men's RS:X. His second place saw him leapfrog Przemyslaw MIARCZYNSKI (POL) into the gold medal spot, whilst a strong finish gave Piotr MYSZKA (POL) third place.

"I'm stoked to win the regatta,' said ASHLEY. 'The conditions have at times been difficult with shifts and gusts, but I've been pleased with my speed in the light winds. In the medal race I had a great first lap and while I was overtaken by my training partner, I held onto second to take the outright lead."

In a cracking final in 49er, European Champions Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR) just held on to the gold medal, crossing in sixth to take the title by a point after Peter HANSEN and Soren HANSEN (DEN) had thrown down the gauntlet with a Medal Race bullet. A second place for Rodion LUKA and George LEONCHUK (UKR) pushed the Ukrainian team up into the bronze medal spot.

Portuguese And Dutch Wins In 470s

The tight fight in the Men's 470 went the way of Alvaro MARINHO and Miguel NUNES (POR). The Portuguese pair have been consistent right through the week and got their just reward with a win in the Medal Race. Gabrio ZANDONA and Andrea TRANI (ITA) wrapped up second ahead of Pierre LEBOUCHER and Vincent GAROS (FRA).

Double World Champions Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT (NED) confirmed their superiority in the women's fleet with a Medal Race win to wrap up gold. Lenka SMIDOVA and Veronika FENCLOVA (CZE) claimed second overall with Erin MAXWELL and Isabelle KINSOLVING (USA) third.

In Yngling fleeting, sailing out of Real Club Náutico de Palma, Sally BARKOW, Carrie HOWE and Debbie CAPOZZI (USA) had a fierce battle in the Medal Race with Sarah AYTON, Pippa WILSON and Sarah WEBB (GBR). In a repeat of 2006, the Americans won the day and the gold medal, whilst AYTON and her team took silver comfortably ahead of third overall Ulrike SCHUEMANN, Julia BLECK and Ute HOEPFNER (GER).

Another Title For BUNDOCK And ASHBY

Darren BUNDOCK and Glenn ASHBY (AUS) added victory in Palma to their World title, confirming their status as world #1 crew. The Aussie pair added to their growing collection of Medal Race bullets to take overall victory ahead of Iordanis PASHALIDES and Konstantinos TRIGONIS (GRE), with the Greeks claiming the title of 2007 European Champions. Andrey KIRILYUK and Valery USHKOV (RUS) came in third overall.

Double Olympic gold medallist Robert SCHEIDT and crew Bruno PRADA (BRA) already had victory wrapped up in the Star and cruised to ninth in the Medal Race. The real battle was for the other spots on the podium, with silver going to Medal Race winners Marc PICKEL and Ingo BORKOWSKI (GER), whilst world #1 Hamish PEPPER and crew Brad NICHOL (NZL) took bronze.

In Laser Radial, based at Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa, world #1 Evi VAN ACKER (BEL) got the better of her battle with Gintare VOLUNGEVICIUTE (LTU) to win gold. Victory in the Medal Race pushed Tania ELIAS CALLES (MEX) up to second overall, whilst Jo ALEH (NZL) knocked VOLUNGEVICIUTE off the podium with a third place.

Julio ALSOGARAY (ARG) scored a career-best win in the Laser, whilst New Zealand securd another medal in the shape of silver for Andrew MURDOCH (NZL). World Champion Michael BLACKBURN (AUS) won the Medal Race to move up to third place overall.

Marin MISURA's (CRO) win in the Finn Medal Race gave the Croatian overall victory as well, with World Champion world #1 Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN) pushed back into second. Pieter-Jan POSTMA (NED) won the bronze medal.

Markus WIESER, Sergey PUGACHEV and Thomas AURACHER (UKR) were the winners in the invited Dragon class. The Dragon Gold Cup will be held next week at Real Club Náutico de Palma.

The 38 Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia - Mapfre is sponsored for second consecutive year by Mapfre and is organized by the Federación Balear de Vela, Real Federación Española de Vela, Real Club Náutico de Palma, Club Nàutic S'Arenal, Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa and Escuela Nacional de Vela Calanova. The collaborators are Govern de les Illes Balears, Palma City Council, Llucmajor City Council, s'Institut de Serveis Socials i Esportius de Mallorca, Trasmediterránea Acciona and Ultramar.

The Princess Sofia Trophy will be included in the first running of the ISAF World Cup© series for the Olympic Classes. For more on the ISAF World Cup© CLICK HERE.

For a complete list of all the news from the Princess Sofia Trophy 2007 CLICK HERE.

Neus Jordi (As Amended By ISAF). Image, The Medal Races concluded a great week of racing in Palma:© Ruben Ballester/www.nicomartinez.com
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