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11 December 2006, 10:38 am
Light Winds On Penultimate Day
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Asian Games 2006
Doha, Qatar

Well rested after their compulsory day off, the sailors returned to Doha Bay yesterday for two scheduled races; it was just that nobody had told the wind that the rest day was over. It was another day of light and shifty winds out on the water.
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The men's Laser standard had one race today, sailing in just four knots of wind, and the man who should be leading the fleet but isn't, Malaysia's Kevin LIM, took the race ahead of Maximillian SOH of Singapore. It seems that now LIM isn't in with a chance the nerves go and he can turn on the performances. SOH leads the fleet with Japan's Yoichi IIJIMA, fourth today contesting the gold.

LIM confirms that he is sailing better now that the pressure is off, 'I had a demon in my head for two days. I came to win one medal and that was the goal, I took too many risks.

'Now after the really bad results in the last two races, I said forget about the medal, sail like you would normally sail, forget about the risks, sail by probability.

'It's a vicious cycle - you end up in front, you take risks, you end up behind, you take risks.

'I feel much better in the boat now (the pressure is off), I feel more relaxed, before I was too tense, I couldn't feel the wind or the hull or the boat underneath me.'

Rufina TAN Dominating Girls Optimist

There were two races for the girl's Optimist today to get their programme back on track and Rufina TAN of Malaysia seems to have stamped her name on the gold already. She won the first race from arch-rival Griselda KHNG and although she slipped to third behind KNG and China's Lihua ZHANG in the afternoon, she keeps accruing good points towards that overall prize.

After the race Rufina TAN was still nervous about her chances for a gold medal, 'The competition out here is very tough. This morning I was very nervous because I was leading and there are many competitors who want to beat me. But now I feel great because I am taking the lead and I got to maintain my lead in today's race as well, which is quite hard.'

'I don't have any special preparations for the final race. I'm still a little scared for the final race and I'm sure I'm going to grab the gold, I have the least points.'

In the boys Optimist - competitors are under 16 years of age in both boys and girls - China's Ni WEI seems to have things sewn up. He topped the lists in both races and has almost done enough to sign his name to the gold. Navee THAMSOONTORN from Thailand is giving him a run for his pocket money, however, but looks likely to have to settle for silver.

Runaway Leaders

Two races were the programme for the men's 470 where fleet leaders Kim DAEYOUNG and Sungahan JUNG from Korea slithered down the snake in the morning with a second, but climbed the ladder in the afternoon with another win. They comfortably head their class, with Japan's Kan YAMADA and Kenchi NAKAMURA looking good for silver.

In the women's version of the class things are a little more open, with TOH and TAN, Liying and Elizabeth respectively, of Singapore the runaway leaders, though they could only manage second and third today. Both races were won by Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATS of Japan which did their case for a medal a lot of good.

Little sister to the 470, the 420, also races in men's and women's classes, with Singaporeans Justin LIU and Shermon CHENG taking both races in fine style in the men's class; WEI and AUNG of Myanmar took the first race in the women's with favourites Lin TAN and Ting LIM in second, but LIN and TING got back in front for the second race with Japan, Yumi TAKAHASHI and Kae TSUGAYA second, the Singapore crew third.

In fact, TAN and LIM shouldn't need to sail again as they have the gold medal already in their pockets, Sarah TAN said, about their tactics, 'We make everything smooth; we make sure that everything is prepared; we follow the groups of boats; we sail safe. That way we make sure we have no disqualification - which allows us to stay in front.'

But she was a little more excited about their likely win, 'It's amazing. I won bronze at the Asian Games in 2002 in the Optimists. It's an improvement. I am so happy.

'We don't have to race tomorrow. We will only if the coaches say we have to.'

Malaysia's Romzi MOUHAMAD won the only Laser Radial event of the day, while Sri Lanka's Akshan JIRASINHA shocked Qatar's Waleed Al SHARSHHANI who had been leading the Laser 4.7 by snatching the win in their only race.

Match racing is new to the Asian Games and seems to be very popular. Top of the pile are Singapore who have only lost two of their eleven races - unlike poor Kuwait who haven't won any - and they look like being able to stay ahead of Korea who are eight wins and three losses, and India and Thailand who are seven and three after sailing a race less.

There was no racing for the three Mistral sailboard classes today due to the lack of wind on their course

Event Media. Image, Light winds on Doha Bay © Event Media
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