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4 April 2006, 02:31 pm
Turkey And India Stay On Course
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ISAF Nations Cup 2006
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Turkey and India maintained their winning habit in the ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final for Asia in Dubai, UAE today as Ahmed SHAHEEN (UAE) battled to keep the hosts in the hunt for a place in the semi finals of the ISAF Grade 2 event.
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Orkun SOYER's Turkish crew were again in commanding form, following up four wins on the opening day with two more victories to maintain their 100 per cent record as the first round robin series of match racing continued at Dubai International Marine Club.

After suffering their only loss on the opening day to SOYER following two earlier wins, Asian Sailing Champions India won four more head to head matches today. This saw Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN (IND) and his team draw level with the Turks at the top of the standings with six victories each.

Frustrating Day For SHAHEEN

It was a frustrating day meanwhile for SHAHEEN and his crew who are fighting for the right to represent the UAE in the ISAF Grade 1 Grand Final of the ISAF Nations Cup in Ireland in September.

After two wins and a defeat on the opening day they suffered a second loss at the hands of India as the round robin series resumed, before quickly bouncing back with victory over Cedric LE REST's (UAE) crew representing the host club.

But the UAE team then failed to capitalize after taking winning positions in their next two matches and suffered defeats at the hands of Jebel Ali Sailing Club's Christopher GRAHAM (UAE), and India for the second time on the day.

Pressure Is On

With the first round robin series continuing and a second round robin series getting underway tomorrow, the highly rated SHAHEEN still held high hopes of taking the UAE into Friday's semi finals.

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Ahmed SHAHEEN battles
towards victory over Cedric
LE REST
© Tong LEWIS
'Ahmed is very talented, and he showed it at times today,' said Sid AHMED, sailing director at Dubai International Marine Club. 'At the moment he is losing out because he lacks experience, and perhaps his concentration lapses at times, but he will only get better.'

The Turks have been sailing together for a year after winning their first match racing event in Italy last spring. They booked their place in Dubai this week by beating seven other crews to win the ISAF Grade 3 Turkish qualifying event last month.

SOYER Reflects On Opening Two Days

Skipper SOYER said, 'We didn't really know what to expect this week, but we followed the Dubai Match Race on the internet in January and knew India would be strong.

'Match racing is never easy because one small mistake and the other guy is in front and then it's very hard to get past him. For the round robin series we're just going out to win every race, but if we get through to the final there will be more tactics involved.'

'We're trying to get used to the boat because it's completely new to us,' he added. 'We're winning at the moment but we're talking everything over after each match because we want to improve.'

The teams are competing in a daily round robin series of match races aboard four V1/Lutra-30 Sport Boats, and enthusiasts can follow the event by visiting - www.dimc-uae.com/sailing/isaf.

ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final - Asia Standings

1. Onursal SOYER (TUR), 8-0
2. Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN (IND), 8-1
3. Ahmed SHAHEEN (UAE), 4-5
4. Christopher GRAHAM (UAE), 3-4
5. Yousuf KHALID MOHAMMAD (UAE), 2-6
5. Cedric LE REST (UAE), 2-5
7. Bekky BRITTON (UAE), 1-7

For a complete list of all the news from the ISAF Nations Cup 2006 CLICK HERE.

Tony LEWIS. Image, Cedric LE REST's crew in action:© Tony LEWIS
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