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20 July 2012, 07:49 pm
Scene Set For Slingsby
Tom Slingsby well on track
Tom Slingsby well on track

London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition
Weymouth and Portland, Great Britain

A 49-boat Laser fleet will line up 30 July with the sailing world wondering if anyone can beat the man in form and favourite for gold, Tom Slingsby (AUS).
The Australian heads into the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition as the man to beat in the Laser with five regatta victories on Weymouth and Portland waters. Slingsby also brings three straight Laser Worlds victories to London 2012 which has sent a message out to the fleet that he can mix it up in all conditions.

"It is a great confidence you get from being undefeated on Olympic waters but by no means is the Olympics the same as any other event," said Slingsby.

But the Australian went into Beijing 2008 in similar form having won two Laser Worlds and finished 22nd overall. Four years older and wiser Slingsby won't want a repeat second time round.

"It is completely different and I learnt that last time in China," the Australian added. "It gives you some confidence but it doesn't mean the result is guaranteed for sure."

Defending Olympic Champion Paul Goodison (GBR) hasn't found the same level of form that he had going in to Beijing 2008. But with home waters knowledge and a drive to secure a second consecutive gold medal Goodison will be looking to peak when it matters. The Brit said, "It's easy to be in the zone for a day but to try and keep that for longer periods is difficult because there is going to be a lot more variety in conditions, variety of challenges, and there's only a few people who have got the mind set and the right attributes to deal with it all."

Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic finished second at the 2012 Laser Worlds in testing conditions and is part of a strong Croatian sailing team who are aiming to win their first Olympic Sailing medal. Stipanovic is one of those looking to make Croatian sailing history and has had his eyes on the Olympics from a young age, "It means a lot to represent Croatia because I've sailed since I was seven and I was always good in Optimist, Laser 4.7 and Laser Radial and I always wanted to go to the Olympics. It is the dream of every sportsman and I am very happy to be going."

New Zealand's Andrew Murdoch will also be pushing for the medals having finished third at the 2011 ISAF Worlds in Perth, Australia. At the 2012 Laser Worlds in Boltenhagen, Germany Murdoch struggled with the shifts and finished down in 25th.

For World #2 Julio Alsogaray (ARG) London 2012 will be his second Olympic Games and after a strong performance at Beijing 2008 his London preparations have gone well, "I have high hopes for London," said the Argentinean. "In the last games in Beijing I received an Olympic Diploma for the 7th position so for this Games we have trained a lot and we are just doing the last training sessions and we are going to do our best to improve what we did in Beijing 2008."

Guatemala's Juan Ignacio Maegli has put together some steady results in recent months and whilst the Beijing 2008 Olympian remains modest, a top ten finish could be on the cards, "At Beijing 2008 I had only sailed the Laser a few months before the Games so to just experience the whole Olympic Games thing was very nice. I've been sailing for four years now so I will try and do well and get a good result. I'm still young and haven't sailed as well as I'd have liked but will build on London for the next Olympics."

Simon Grotelueschen (GER), Bruno Fontes (BRA), Pavlos Kontides (CYP), Javier Hernandez (ESP), Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) and Rasmus Myrgren (SWE) will all be aiming for medals but with great sailors throughout the fleet it will be an action packed Laser competition.

The Laser fleet set sail on 30 July at 12:00 on Weymouth Bay South. The fleet enjoy a lay day on 2 August before racing resumes on 3 August. The Lasers will play to the Nothe Spectator area crowd on 6 August where the gold medallists will be decided after the Medal Race.
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