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13 January 2006, 02:31 pm
World And Paralympic Champions Line Up
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Alcoa IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championships 2006
Perth, Australia

Paralympic medallists, reigning and past World Champions and the recently awarded US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year, are amongst the 70 competitors from 14 nations who will contest the Alcoa IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championship next week in Perth, Australia , the first qualifying event for the 2008 Paralympic Games.
The 2006 IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championship is the first qualification event for the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Competition, with the seven top ranked nations in both the one-person keelboat 2.4 Metre and three-person keelboat Sonar events gaining qualification, subject to IPC approval. The first qualifying event for the new two-person keelboat Paraylmpic event in the UD-18 will take place later in the year.

In the case that the required number of races are not completed (in accordance with IFDS rules) then the qualification slots attributed to the competition will be redistributed to the 2007 IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championships Allocation method and allocated through the results of the corresponding boat class.

Top Sailors In Perth

American skipper Nick SCANDONE only heard last week that he had been awarded US Sailing's Rolex Yachtsman of the Year 2005. 'I'm overwhelmed,' he commented, adding, 'This is something I never dreamed would happen.'

SCANDONE is one of the top contenders to win the single-person keelboat 2.4 Metre event in the Alcoa IFDS Worlds, the class in which he won the Open Worlds in Italy last year, from a fleet of 88 disabled and able bodied sailors.

His strongest competition is likely to come from Frenchman Damien SEGUIN, the defending IFDS World Champion, and gold medallist at the Athens Paralympics in 2004.

Other strong contenders in the 22 strong fleet include Germany's Heiko KRÖGER (GER), second at the 2005 Worlds and a winner in years before, and Briton Helena LUCAS, a rising star in her nation's Paralympic sailing team.

Britain are also strong in the three-person keelboat Sonar, which makes up the other fleet in this World Championship, with John ROBERTSON, Hannah STODEL and Stephen THOMAS coming to Perth to defending the World title they won in Denmark last September.

Australia's strongest bid for the title is expected to come from local Perth skipper Jamie DUNROSS and his crew of Colin HARRISON and Jeff MILLIGAN. MILLIGAN was in the crew skippered by the late Noel ROBINS, which won gold at the Sydney Paralympics in 2000, and has been running his own campaign since. He will remember well German skipper Jens KROKER, who collected the silver medal at the Sydney Games, and is also in this Championship, hoping to improve on his third place last year.

The Alcoa IFDS World Championship is being hosted by the Royal Perth Yacht Club, and sailed on the Swan River, with racing scheduled to start Thursday 19 January.

For all the news from the Alcoa IFDS World Disabled Sailing Championships CLICK HERE.

John ROBERSON (As Amended By ISAF)
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