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16 August 2008, 10:07 pm
ROMERO Regains Laser Series Lead
Luka Radelic of Croatia
Luka Radelic of Croatia won race 5 of the Laser Opening Series

2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Qingdao, China

Italy's Diego ROMERO is back at the top of the leaderboard in the Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser event at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition, with just ten points covering the top nine skippers.
Diego ROMERO (ITA) regains the overall lead after coming in 10th in race 5 on Saturday. With five races of the Laser Opening Series now completed, each sailors can exclude their worst score from their points total, meaning ROMERO can drop the 36 points he picked up in race 4. Friday's overall leader Paul GOODISON (GBR) falls back from first to fourth overall, although he is just three points behind ROMERO.

Only one of Saturday's three planned races went ahead owing to light, shifting winds. Croatia's Luka RADELIC won the race, whilst ROMERO staged a fantastic comeback after being buried at the start.

"I'm building up my confidence gradually," ROMERO said after the race. "To become a champion you have to feel like a champion first."

Rasmus MYRGREN (SWE) finished eighth in race 5 and held on to second place overall, whilst Athens bronze medallist, Vasilij ZBOGAR (SLO), has moved up from sixth into third after scoring second in the race. The Slovenian appears to be peaking at a crucial time of the competition - the halfway stage.

"I got very lucky picking the right side of the course where there was wind. There was a moment when I thought I would lose, but luckily the wind shifted and I caught up," he said.

GOODISON, the winner of both Test Events in Qingdao, is now fourth after finishing ninth in Saturday's race. He should not be underestimated. Any of the top 10 sailors could easily make a charge up the leaderboard as only 13 points separate them.

Among them is Pavlos KONTIDES of Cyprus, the 18-year oId who came to Qingdao fresh from winning the gold medal in the Laser at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship.

Racing continues on Sunday, when officials hope to hold three races starting on course area C from 12:00.

After an incredibly topsy-turvy start to the Laser Opening Series, Paul GOODISON (GBR) leads on 33 points after four races. Rasmus MYRGREN (SWE), second in today's race, is tied on points with Brits and lies second overall, whilst Igor LISOVENKO (RUS) is third four points further back. Overnight leader Diego ROMERO (ITA) falls back to eighth after posting at 36th today.

"I was a little surprised to win today," said GOODISON, also the winner of both Olympic Test Events in Qingdao. "I got a nice start and after that it felt almost easy. It was a bit of a one way track with the tide and wind. I'm sorry we couldn't do another race, the conditions were nice," he said of the 6-13 knot winds that gusted up to 14 on Course B.

As conditions on the race course changed so did the leaderboard. Those who perform better in stronger pressure enjoyed better results, although world #1 and medal favourite Tom SLINGSBY (AUS) had another dismal day, adding another 22 finish to his 21, 22, 21 scorecard.

Neither did it suit Julio ALSOGARAY (ARG) who fell from third to ninth overall after a disastrous 28th. Other medal favourites did not fair much better. Andrew MURDOCH (NZL) is in 15th overall after finishing 20th, while Andrew CAMPBELL (USA), the winner in race 3 on Wednesday, dropped to 12th overall with his 26th place.

The top two sailors coming into Friday's race, ROMERO and Gustavo LIMA (POR), have dropped to eighth and fifth respectively.

Race 4 followed an enforced day off Thursday when breezes failed to materialise on a humid summer day with poor visibility. Racing resumed late on Friday, just before 17:00. The original schedule was a 13:00 start, but shifty breezes followed by storm clouds kept competitors waiting. Race officials decided to bring most of the fleet ashore until the dark clouds passed. Due to the late start, only once race was sailed.

Racing in the 43-strong fleet continues with three races scheduled for Saturday 16 August.

Overall Results - click here

ISAF (source: Olympic News Service)
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