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29 July 2002, 10:07 am
Newcomer Ben Ainslie (GBR) Takes Title
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Ainslie (GBR)© www.actionimages.gr

Finn Gold Cup & Olympic Qualifcation Regatta
Athens

With a phenomenal performance over the last week, 25 year old Ben Ainslie (GBR) has won the Finn Gold Cup. It is the first time a Brit has won the title since Chris Law in 1976.
Ainslie taking the title is all the more outstanding when you consider that he has only been sailing the Finn for the last 6 months. After securing the Gold medal in Sydney in 2000 in the Laser class, to add to his Silver medal in the Laser class in Atlanta in 1996, Ainslie went off to join the One World America's Cup Challenge, before returning to British shores at the beginning of the year to embark on his third Olympic Campaign this time in the Finn Class dinghy.

A delighted Ainslie commented, "My tactics for today were just to stick with Mateusz and not let him get away. We didn't sail the best first beat but we both had good speed downwind, he finished seventh and I finished eighth, which was enough to win the championship."

"I can't quite believe that I have won this event, it is great. All of the British team has put a lot of effort into these two events [the Europeans and Worlds] and it seems to have paid off in the results. I would never have imagined when I first started sailing the class earlier this year that I would have won both the Europeans and the Worlds. I have learnt a lot from the rest of the team and also from our coaches David Howlett and Mark Littlejohn."

There can be no doubt that David Howlett, who coached Iain Percy (GBR) to Gold in the Finn Class at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, played no small part in this success story. Howlett proved to have a very good knowledge of the Athenian weather conditions, which he gained in the early nineteen eighties when sailing along the side of Finn Olympic medallists Elias Hatzipavlis and Tassos Boudouris in the Saronic Golf.

The final race of the championship was sailed in 13-16 knots of breeze, and it was the Spanish sailor Rafael Trujizo Villar who took the race win with Britain's Andrew Simpson finishing in second place overall with Szukiel Waclaw of Poland third.

With 9 slots from the 2002 Finn Gold Cup available for qualification to the 2004 Olympic Regatta, Ben has claimed Great Britain's place together with POL, CRO, ESP, BEL, GER, FRA, BRA and IRL.

The silver and bronze medal positions were a mirror image from the 2001 Finn Gold Cup. Mateusz Kusznierewicz of Poland takes home the silver medal, with local sailor Emilios Papathanasiou finishing in the bronze medal position.

Final Results
Pos Crew Sail No. R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 Pts
1 Ben Ainslie GBR 3 6 2 5 1 1 2 2 -8 19
2 Kusznierewicz Mateusz POL 17 5 -91 16 3 2 1 3 7 37
DNF
3 Papathanasiou Emilios GRE 6 1 1 13 -91 3 10 9 5 42
DNF
4 Karlo Kuret CRO 11 7 4 -15 6 7 5 7 11 47
5 Rafael Trujizo Villar ESP 100 21 6 1 14 -25 3 4 1 50
6 Sebastien Godefroid BEL 7 3 -19 7 4 18 11 1 6 50
7 Fellmann Michael GER 79 11 -33 6 2 17 13 6 12 67
8 Guillaume Florent FRA 73 2 15 3 -28 9 16 17 9 71
9 Andrew Simpson GBR 6 12 -40 8 7 24 26 5 2 84
10 Rambeau Pascal FRA 17 25 14 9 15 4 7 16 -37 90
Sacha Oswald/Finn Gold Cup Press/News Editor
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