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15 August 2008, 05:41 pm
VOLUNGEVICIUTE Poses Threat To Laser Radial Lead
Gintare Volungeviciute of Lithuania
Gintare Volungeviciute of Lithuania, winner of today's Laser Radial race

2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Qingdao, China

Lithuania's sailing star Gintare VOLUNGEVICIUTE threw down a serious challenge to the overall leader Anna TUNNICLIFFE by winning race 4 of the Laser Radial Opening Series today.
Gintare VOLUNGEVICIUTE, known for her speed in light winds, won a closely fought race 4 in the Laser Radial fleet today started in 7 knots of breeze increasing to 15 midway through the race, the windiest conditions of the regatta to date. The Lithuanian world #9 has so far pulled out 3, 13, 8, 1 scores and has sat near the top of the standings the whole time. She moves into second place following her win and is just five points behind the American world #1 sailor, Anna TUNNICLIFFE, who was nevertheless happy with her fifth place.

"I did perfectly downwind, especially the second leg, and I made the right decisions," VOLUNGEVICIUTE said.

TUNNICLIFFE, to her credit, has not finished outside sixth - the only competitor with that claim. "Today I made a huge come back. The wind was very shifty, and I got Yellow Flagged for rocking on the first downwind leg. On the second downwind, the left side was wide open. I had nothing to lose at that moment, so I went that way and made it all the way back to the top of the fleet," revealed the American.

Others who had a good day included Croatian outsider Mateja PETRONIJEVIC (CRO) and Jo ALEH (NZL) enjoying the change in conditions. Although PETRONIJEVIC dropped from second she still did well to finish fourth, while ALEH repeated her performance of race 3, taking second place and moving into fourth overall.

One of the medal favourites, Sarah BLANCK (AUS), did not have one of her better days and it cost her dearly. Her 19th finish drops her from fourth overall down to eighth. Yesterday's race winner Penny CLARK (GBR) took a tumble too, finishing 22nd. It was good news though for local girl, Lijia XU, whose sixth place in race 4 lifts her into seventh place overall.

"The current and tide were very good to me - otherwise I would be out of the top 10," XU said.

Race organisers were keen to hold three races in the Laser Radial to catch up on Thursday's schedule after racing was abandoned, but in the end only one race was sailed as competitors waited, originally for breezes to settle, but then also for a storm to pass over.

Overall Results - click here

ISAF (source: Olympic News Service)
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