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13 August 2008, 03:31 am
Aussie 470 Women RECHICHI and PARKINSON Hit The Front
Natalia Via-Dufresne and Laia Tutzo of Spain
Natalia Via-Dufresne and Laia Tutzo of Spain lie second overall after day two of racing

2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Qingdao, China

Australians Elise RECHICHI and Tessa PARKINSON made the most of very light winds take the lead in the Women's 470 fleet following races 3 and 4 of the Opening Series on Tuesday.
The Australians finished fourth and first in races 3 and 4 respectively to establish a seven-point overall lead on the Spanish boat of Athens silver medallist Natalia VIA-DUFRESNE and crew Laia TUTZO and Dutch triple World Champions Marcelien DE KONING and Lobke BERKHOUT.

Elise RECHICHI fell ill after falling into the water at the first Test Event in Qingdao in 2006, but showed her resolved by returning to Qingdao last year and winning the Test Event with crew Tessa PARKINSON. Under the careful guidance of Australia's legendary 470 coach Victor KOVALENKO, over the past three years they have successfully made the transition from youth stars to serious contenders in the senior fleet. At just 48kg, RECHICHI is the lightest sailor competing at the Games and the light winds conditions that have prevailed so far in Qingdao have suited the Aussie team perfectly. "Today was straightforward. We were conservative and consistent. We maintained our rhythm and it worked. We enjoy sailing here. We prefer it here more than in Europe," RECHICHI explained.

Nike KORNECKI and Vered BUSKILA (ISR) had the most impressive performance among all 470 sailors for the day with their first place finish in race 3 and their second place finish in race 4.

The light winds frustrated all of the sailors, especially on the runs where the fleet spread out in search of pressure.

RECHICHI and PARKINSON took command of the race 4 from the start and rounded the first windward mark with a substantial lead. Positions held on the first run and were shuffled a little bit on the second beat as teams showed strong preferences for one side of the course or the other.

The fleet spread out once again during the day's final run. As they converged toward the gate, Australia had nearly a 30-second jump on KORNECKI and BOUSKILA who had gybed ahead of VIA-DUFRENSE and TUTZO and forced Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) and Christina BASSADONE and Saskia CLARK (GBR) to gybe. Separated by less than half a boat length on the final tight reach, the Israelis, Italians and British teams tried to ride over the top of each other, but positions did not change when crossing the finish line.

Ai KONDO and Naoko KAMATA (JPN), #1 crew in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, had another day of poor performances and lie 16th in the 19-strong fleet. Just behind them is the bronze medal winning team from Athens, Therese TORGERSSON and Vendela SANTEN (SWE), who were disqualified in race 4 after being protested by Fernanda OLIVEIRA and Isabel SWAN (BRA) for an Rule 10 infraction.

Overal Results - click here

ISAF (source: Olympic New Service)
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