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17 November 2005, 03:34 pm
A-List Sailors And Film Stars Heading To Malaysia
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Monsoon Cup 2005
Terengganu, Malaysia

The reigning two-time ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion, a bevy of America's Cup sailors and a pair of A-list film stars highlight the inaugural ISAF Grade 1 Monsoon Cup, the final ISAF Grade 1 match racing event of the year, in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia from 29 November-4 December.
The Monsoon Cup also marks the 50th anniversary event of the Swedish Match Tour.

ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion Sally BARKOW (USA), who is also the reigning Yngling World Champion, joins a fleet that includes match racing luminaries such as New Zealanders Dean BARKER, Russell COUTTS and Chris DICKSON, reigning Swedish Match Tour Champion and number two in the ISAF World Match Race Rankings Peter GILMOUR (AUS) and Sweden's Magnus HOLMBERG, all current or past America's Cup skippers and helmsmen.

Two widely popular Asian film stars, Hong Kong's Jackie CHAN and Michelle YEOH of Malaysia, have said they will make appearances at the event. Ferrari racing team boss Jean TODT, YEOh's fiancé, has also said he will be in attendance.

'We're very happy about having Sally join the field,' said GILMOUR, race director for the new event. 'Part of the goal of the Monsoon Cup is to grow the sport of sailing in Malaysia, and by having Sally in the field we can show youth sailors that boys and girls, men and women can compete on an equal footing in sailing. Having the film stars helps boost the event's popularity locally.'

CHAN has starred in movies such as Medallion and the Rush Hour series, whilst YEOH has co-starred in the James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies and director Ang LEE's very popular Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. YEOH has also been helping promote the event through television ads in Malaysia.

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Peter GILMOUR looks set
to be one of the stars of the
© Guido Cantini/SEA&
The Monsoon Cup is the final event for Tour title sponsor Swedish Match. The seven year sponsor of the Tour has said it will conclude its partnership at the end of the year due to a new Swedish law that prohibits tobacco companies from sponsoring sports events. The final event promises great sailing.

'The Tour is very happy with how the Monsoon Cup is shaping up,' said Director Scott MACLEOD. 'The lineup is first rate, and what can you say about the film stars. It's not everyday you get to meet Jackie CHAN and Michelle YEOH.'

BARKOW, 25, won her second consecutive ISAF Women's Match Racing Worlds last month. She began match racing in college, where she was a two-time All American at Old Dominion University, and feels the discipline also helps her succeed in the Yngling fleet races.

'It's a chance to sail different boats in different situations,' said BARKOW. 'Match racing is short courses and one-on-one situations. It makes our boat-on-boat stuff in the fleet racing better than those who don't do it.'

BARKOW and crew will have their hands full in Malaysia. COUTTS is the record setting America's Cup skipper, having won three consecutive Matches and owning a 14-race winning streak in the Match. GILMOUR is the two-time reigning winner of the Swedish Match Tour, while HOLMBERG is a past champion. COUTTS, DICKSON and GILMOUR have all won the ISAF Match Racing Worlds three times and BARKER is also a past Worlds' winner.

The field also includes Thierry PEPONNET of France, skipper and helmsman of the K-Challenge for the America's Cup. Cameron DUNN (NZL) is expected to compete for Italy's Mascalzone Latino - Capitalia Team syndicate for the America's Cup. Sweden's long-time match racer Bjorn HANSEN has also accepted an invitation, as well as Britain's up-and-comer Ian WILLIAMS .

Besides being the 50th event of the Swedish Match Tour and the final ISAF Grade 1 event of the match racing year, the Monsoon Cup is garnering significant notice in Malaysia and throughout Asia. The last two days of the event, 3- 4 December are scheduled to broadcast live on ESPN Asia and ESPN Hong Kong. Malaysia's TV3 and ESPN India plan to join the live broadcast on 4 December. There are also plans to carry the final two days live on the Tour's broadband Internet channel,

Monsoon Cup Entrants to date
( - ISAF World Match Race Ranking)

For the current Swedish Match Tour Standings CLICK HERE.

Sean McNeill (As Amended By ISAF). Image, ISAF Women's Match Racing World Champion Sally BARKOW will battle the top men's match races in Malaysia:© Bob Grieser/PPL, Hamilton
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