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4 December 2006, 09:36 am
Battle On In Doha
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Asian Games 2006
Doha, Qatar

The 15th Asian Games is underway in Doha, Qatar, with 19 nations set to take part in the 14 sailing events. Laser Radial World Champion Lijia XU (CHN) heads the line up of 170 sailors, with the first racing off Doha Bay starting 5 December.
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The racing takes place in Men and Women's 420, 470, Mistral and Optimist; Men's Laser and Mistral Heavy; and open Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and Hobie 16. Doha Sailing Club will host the sailing events in Ras Abu Aboud. The expected conditions in Doha Bay should provide a north westerly wind of around eight knots with average air and sea temperatures around 20°C. Racing takes place from 5-14 December.

XU goes to Doha having won the Women's Optimist title in Busan, Korea four years ago, although this time she will be competing the Open Laser Radial event. Also amongst the pre-regatta favourites are Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA (JPN), recent runners up at the 470 Worlds in China.

A very strong looking Singapore team includes 2005 ISAF Youth World Champions in the 420 Wee Chin TEO and Terence KOH (SIN). After topping the medal table at the Asian Sailing Championships in Doha back in March, the Singapore team will be looking for a repeat performance this December.

Laser Battle

Malaysia's Kevin LIM has had a very good year in the Laser and will be aiming to go one better than the silver he secured in Busan and Bangkok four years earlier. However Ho-Kon KIM (KOR), gold medallist from both 2002 and 1998, also features on the entry list.

Amongst the windsurfers Napalai TANSAI (THA) finished as top woman at the recent Raceboard Worlds, whilst Shuijia WANG (CHN) was crowned Mistral World Champion in October. Hong Kong also present a very strong challenge led by King Yin CHAN (HKG), Chi Ho HO (HKG) and Wai Kei CHAN (HKG).

India's Mahesh RAMCHANDRAN will start as favourite in the match racing after winning the Asian Regional Final of the ISAF Nations Cup back in April.

Also lining up are sailors from Bahrain, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Chinese Taipei and the hosts Qatar.

ISAF. Image, Lijia XU tops the bill in Doha:© Rich Roberts
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