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17 August 2008, 04:56 am
Three Medal Races And Big Breeze In Qingdao - Follow The Action LIVE!
The Olympic gold medal
Who will win sailing's first gold medal of the Beijing Olympic Games?

2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Qingdao, China

The first ever Olympic Medal Race is schedule to take place today at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, shortly followed by the second and third - get all the latest updates here...
Following the postponement of the Finns and Ynglings yesterday, today the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center will host three Medal Races, with the 49er also joining the show. Conditions could not be more different to yesterday, when very light winds forced the abandonment of racing. Today heavy rain and easterly winds of around 15 knots are forecast, which should provide an exciting finale.

The Yngling Medal Race begins first, scheduled for a 13:00 local time start. The Finns follow at 14:00 with the 49ers last up at 15:00. Racing is also underway on the other race course areas.

UPDATED: The Yngling Medal race was completed on schedule in stormy conditions, with heavy rain and an easterly breeze of around 15 knots whipping up a big swell on Fushan Bay.

The Finn Medal Race is delayed as with the wind shifting around.

UPDATED: After returning to shore, at 15:30 the Finns are heading out to course area A again for the second Medal Race of today. The rain has eased off but it's still very windy with the weather buoys recording wind speeds around 20 knots.

UPDATED: Finn Medal Race completed. AINSLIE wins gold. 49ers next up. Disaster for the leading Danish crew as they break their mast before the start.

The RS:X and Laser fleets have already completed some very windy races today and are expected to complete all three of their scheduled races. The Stars and Tornados are also about to get their racing underway.

Look at your local television listing to watch the Medal Races live. Viewers in the USA can also log on the NBC's online coverage whilst those in certain European territories can watch on www.eurovisionsports.tv. In addition to the television coverage you can also get live mark-by-mark roundings, estimated overall scores and race results on the ISAF Olympic Games microsite in our Results Centre here.

In the Yngling Medal Race, two-thirds of the gold medal winning team from Great Britain sit on top of the leaderboard. Sarah AYTON and Sarah WEBB won gold four years ago together with Shirley ROBERTSON, but are competing in Qingdao with new a new crew member Pippa WILSON. They hold the overall lead in the Yngling keelboat fleet although the scores are very close with the Dutch team of Mandy MULDER, Annemieke BES and Merel WITTEVEEN just a single point behind. With points doubled for the Medal Race and the third-place Greek boat a long way behind, the boats from Great Britain and the Netherlands will go head to head in a battle for the Olympic gold medal.

In the Finn fleet, Ben AINSLIE (GBR) is going for this third consecutive Olympic gold medal and starts as favourite to defend his Olympic crown, holding the 12-point overall lead ahead the surprise star of the Finn fleet, Zach RAILEY of the USA.

The Danish team of Jonas WARRER and Martin IBSEN leads by 11 points in the 49ers.

The new Olympic Format, the Medal Race, where the fleet is cut down to the leading 10 boats and the points scores are doubled, will be used to decided the winners in the Heavyweight Dinghy - Finn and Women's Keelboat - Yngling events at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center on Saturday. The races will be held just in front of the spectator breakwater at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center on a short 30-minute course with Jury boats to officiate the action. The competitors carry their overall scores from the Opening Series of races through to the Medal Race and the medals will be decided by combining the Opening Series score with a boat's Medal Race score. The Medal Races for both the Finn and Yngling events will be broadcast live and will be followed straight away by the medal ceremonies, held on a specially constructed platform inside the marina.

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