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5 April 2006, 04:00 pm
Asian Champions Top Round Robin Series
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ISAF Nations Cup 2006
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Asian champions India sent Turkey to their first defeat at the ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final for Asia in Dubai, USA today, but both teams moved comfortably through to the semi-finals, where they face UAE opposition in the ISAF Grade 2 event.
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The Jebel Ali Sailing Club team skippered by Christopher GRAHAM and Cedric LE REST's crew from event hosts Dubai International Marine Club complete tomorrow's semi-final line up after a three day round robin series of match racing.

There was disappointment for Ahmed SHAHEEN and his all UAE crew, who had looked to be cruising towards a place in the last four but lost all three of their matches today to go out of the event.

As the round robin series entered the final stages in the early evening, India held a narrow advantage over the Turkish team of Onursal SOYER, and as the skipper with the most wins Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN would later have the right to select his semi-final opponents.

The crucial moments of the third day of the regional qualifier came in mid-afternoon.

India Get Revenge Victory Over Turkey

First RAMCHANDRAN took India to victory over the Turkish team to ensure the Asian Sailing Champions topped the round robin series.

SHAHEEN then suffered successive defeats at the hands of LE REST and GRAHAM to surrender his chance of reaching the semi-finals. As that left SHAHEEN and LE REST tied on four wins each, the UAE team's defeat by the DIMC crew was decisive.

On the first two days SHAHEEN had seemed to be well on course for the last four showdown, with a place in the ISAF Grade 1 Grand Final of the ISAF Nations Cup in Ireland awaiting the outright winners in Dubai.

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Action from the Bekky BRITTON and
Ahmed SHAHEEN match
© Tony LEWIS
But he never recovered from a bad start to the day when he lost out to the UAE women's team skippered by Bekky BRITTON, who have already booked their passage to the Royal Cork Yacht Club in September as the only all women crew contesting the qualifier.

Boosted by their win against SOYER, the Indians went on to beat the second all UAE crew skippered by Yousuf KHALID MOHAMMAD and then scored another victory over BRITTON to make it eleven wins out of twelve round robin matches.

In the semi-finals tomorrow, RAMCHANDRAN will line up against LE REST, whilst SOYER will take on GRAHAM.

ISAF Nations Cup Regional Final - Asia Results

Round Robin

1. Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN (IND), 11-1
2. Onursal SOYER (TUR), 11-1
3. Christopher GRAHAM (UAE), 6-6
4. Cedric LE REST (UAE), 5-7
5. Ahmed SHAHEEN (UAE), 4-8
6. Yousuf KHALID MOHAMMAD (UAE), 2-10
7. Bekky BRITTON (UAE), 2-10

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

Tony LEWIS. Image, India on their way to victory over Turkey:© Tony LEWIS
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