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19 August 2002, 10:56 am
Racing Starts on Wednesday
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City Match ISAF World Match Racing Championship

The KSSS City Match ISAF World Match Racing Championships will kick off on Wednesday 21 August 2002 with 10 of the top ranked Match Racing skippers taking to the waters of Stockholm harbour to fight it out for the title.

The top 9 ranked skippers are invited to the event plus the defending champion. If any of these skippers are unable to take part the invitations are extended to the next sailors in the ranking list. As per the latest Ranking release on 24 July, 6 of the top ten skippers will be competing in Sweden, with the other 4 places going to Andrew Arbuzow (RUS) ranked 14, Staffan Lindberg (FIN) 15, Mathieu Richard (FRA) 18 and Lars Norbjerg (DEN) number 22 in the World.

Defending Champion Dean Barker (NZL) will not be competing and the best placed finisher in 2000 who will be back to try for the title is World number 10 Francois Brenac who finished in 7th place in 2000. Neither the World number 1 or the World number 3 in the ISAF Rankings will be appearing in Stockholm so the path will be set for significant changes at the next ranking release.

Jesper Radich (DEN) will be one skipper who will be a hot contender for the title. After finishing in 10th place in 2000, Radich has steadily climbed up the rankings to sit behind Peter Holmberg at Number 2 and fresh from success at the 2002 European Championships in Spain, Radich will be aiming to add a World Championship title to his name. Fellow Dane, Jes Gram Hansen is the only other skipper to have competed at the Worlds in 2000 and finished 12th. Hansen who claimed bronze at the European Championships and finished 3rd on the 2001/2 Swedish Match Tour will be a tough competitor to beat.

Seasoned World Champion sailor and World ranked number 6 Karol Jablonski from Poland will also be making the trip to Stockholm. With two ISAF Grade 1 event titles already his this season, the Amer Sports Cup and more recently the Yava Trophy in Russia, which concluded yesterday, Jablonski will be seeking to make a solid mark on the event. Jablonski won the Mumm 36 World Championships in 1999 and is also 6 times World Champion in the DN Ice-Yacht. With an America's Cup challenge planned for Poland in 2006.

The final two competitors are Bjorn Hansen (SWE) and Mikael Lindqvist (SWE) who complete the entry quota of ten skippers to reveal an entirely European dominated competition.
ISAF Match Race Worlds Press/News Editor
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