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13 December 2006, 09:13 am
Medals Decided In Mistral and Laser
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Asian Games 2006
Doha, Qatar

The sailing competition at the Asian Games 2006 wrapped up yesterday in for the Laser fleets and with the Mistrals completing their series on Monday it is Singapore leading the medals tally.
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Singapore dominated the Laser finals, taking home two golds and a silver, to lift their Asian Games gold medal tally to five in the sailing competition at the 15th Asian Games.

The only two females in the open Laser Radial and open Laser 4.7 classes both won medals, becoming the first females to ever win medals at the Asian Games in their respective classes. China's XU Lijia won gold in the Laser Radial and Nurul Elia ANUAR, Malaysia took bronze in the Laser 4.7 class.

Waleed AL SHARSHANI won silver in the Laser 4.7 and is Qatar's first ever Asian Games sailing medallist.

In the open Laser Radial, after a difficult and very competitive regatta, Laser Radial world champion XU took China's fourth gold medal in an open class, winning by two points. Seng Leong KOH from Singapore and Rajesh CHOUDHARY from India were on equal points at the conclusion of sailing on 12 December, but KOH won on countback. KOH won the final race, giving him more firsts overall than CHOUDHARY and allowing him to jump from fourth overall to second place, taking the silver. CHOUDHARY won his second consecutive bronze medal in this class, having won bronze at the Asian Games Busan 2002.

In the men's Laser standard class Singapore's Maximilian SOH stormed home with the gold medal, winning by nine points. The battle for silver was very close between Japan's Yoichi IIJIMA and Hokon KIM (KOR) who covered each other for the whole race. IIJIMA placed third in the final race to win the silver medal. Defending Asian Games gold medallist KIM finished fifth to take the bronze and was visibly frustrated with his performance. IIJIMA, however was a very pleased sailor, taking his country's 200 sailing medal.

In the Laser 4.7 class, CHENG Xinru Colin won Singapore's second gold medal of the day. CHENG's consistent sailing throughout the regatta paid off with all his races, bar two, concluding with top three finishes. He was well clear of the rest of the fleet, taking the gold medal with a 10-point margin.

Waleed AL SHARSHANI, the local boy from Qatar took silver in the 4.7, entering the history books as the first Qatari to win a medal in sailing at the Asian Games. AL SHARSHANI's silver medal brings Qatar's total medal tally to 24.

Nurul Elia ANUAR from Malaysia, the only female in this class, took bronze, winning Malaysia's second medal of the day after Rufina TAN won gold in the girl's Optimist class. This is only the second time since the Bangkok Asian Games in 1998 that Malaysia has won multiple medals in sailing.
In the last complete day of sailing, medals were decided in the Mistral sailboard classes, which sailed their final races on 11 December, and some of the medals in the dinghy classes have been decided by consistent front runners - in the women's 420, the men's 420 and the women's 470, as well as the girl's and the boy's Optimist.

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The competitors in the men's
Mistral light competition line up
before the start
© Asian Games Media
Chinese Windsurfers Dominate

The three Mistral sailboard classes finished their competition on 11 December with the early domination of all three classes by Hong Kong falling to the power of the Chinese in the latter stages.

After starting the regatta leading in all three Mistral classes, Hong Kong came out of the competition with just one gold, CHAN King Yim (HKG) taking gold in the men's Mistral light class, China's ZENG Xiaohang getting the silver and Thailand's Arun HOMRAUEN the bronze.

In the Men's Mistral heavy - the heavy and light referring to the weight of the competitor - early leader HO Chi Ho was beaten by the superior power of China's YAO Xinhao, Indonesia's I Gusti Made Oka SULAKSANA filling the last place on the podium. HO Chi Ho won the last race, but a fourth in the earlier race of the day, coupled with YAO's consistency, he had two seconds in the day, meant that China took another gold.

Hong Kong, China also bowed to pressure from over the border in the Women's Mistral, CHEN Lina taking the gold from CHAN Wai Kei despite the latter winning the last race, and Thailand's Napalai TANSAI getting the bronze.

Singapore Guaranteed Gold

Singapore's Sarah TAN and Tze Ting LIM are already confirmed as the gold medallists in the women's 420 class because their 10-point lead cannot be closed by any of the chasing boats. Yumi TAKAHASHI and Kae TSUGAYA from Japan are likely to win silver after a win in their race on December 11.
Su Sandar WAI and April AUNG, Malaysia, are four points behind and look set to finish the competition with the bronze.

Kim DAEYOUNG and Sungahan JUNG of Korea recorded solid performances in the men's 470 on day six, taking home two firsts to open up a 12-point lead over Singapore's Yuan Zhen XU and Terence KOH. KIM and JUNG look set to take the gold medal. This class has a day of rest on December 12 before a final race on December 13.

The Singapore crew of Justin LIU and Shermon CHENG look certain to win men's 420 gold with a nine-point lead over Japan's Shibuki IITSUKA and Shingen FURUYA. The final for this class will be on December 13.

Japanese duo Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATS have gold locked away after winning ten of eleven races in the women's 470. They have a 13-point lead over YU Chunyan and WEN Yimei of China, with Singapore's Liying TOH and Li Yong TAN one point behind in third. The final for this class is on December 13 and the battle for silver and bronze is sure to be fierce.

China's NI Wei finished day six of competition guaranteed to win gold when he cruised to a massive 15-point lead over Navee THAMSOONTORN of Thailand, finishing first in both boy's Optimist races.

THAMSOONTORN and Sean LEE of Singapore were over at the start in race 11, receiving the maximum points and dashing their hopes of challenging NI for the gold medal.

There is still some competition for the bronze, but NI and THAMSOONTORN appear to be in prime position to take gold and silver.

Rufina TAN from Malaysia has secured the gold medal in the girl's Optimist, taking a 10-point lead over Japan's Haruka KOMIYS and Thailand's Benjamas POONPAT, who sit on 30 points each. POONPAT won the race on 11 December with KOMIYS second and Tan third.

A disappointing sixth place finish in race 11 puts Griselda KHNG of Singapore in fourth place with no hope of challenging her long time rival TAN for gold.

The Hobie 16 catamaran sailors finally got the high winds they have been seeking throughout the competition, with Thai brothers DAMRONGSAK and Sakda VONGTIM securing their four-point lead ahead of Korea.

The VONGTIM brothers dropped the first race to PARK Kyutae and SUNG Changil of Korea, but returned to form when the winds picked up even more in the late afternoon, finishing in first place in race 11, turning the tables on the Koreans.

Singapore and India continue to dominate the match racing, sharing the lead with 11 points each, though Singapore must be annoyed to have lost their overall lead. They have each won 11 races and lost three. Thailand trails by just one point with Korea not far behind on nine points.

Event Media. Image, Lonely winner; China's Xu Lijia was the only woman but she beat all the men in the Laser Radial © Event Media
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