Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) just need to make a genuine attempt to start, compete in and finish Monday's Medal Race to claim the gold medal in the Men's Two Person Dinghy event at the 2008 Olympic Sailing Competition.
After the final three races of the Men's 470 Opening Series in Qingdao today, Nathan WILMOT
and Malcolm PAGE
(AUS), three-time World Champions and the current world #1 crew, have an unassailable lead of 22 points. Behind them the battle for the remaining medals will be incredibly close, with crews from the Netherlands, France and Great Britain separated by just five points.
The day did not begin well for the Australians as the posted their worst score of the Opening Series with an 16th in race 8. Of their rivals at the top of the leaderboard, only the British crew of Nick ROGERS
and Joe GLANFIELD
fared worse, as they were caught across the line early and scored OCS (counting for 30 points). The Aussies improved in race 9, finishing third behind Kiwi young guns Carl EVANS
and Peter BURLING
and the Brits, but the crucial race proved to be race 10.
At this stage their closest rivals were the French team of Nicolas CHARBONNIER
and Olivier BAUSSET
, who have excelled in the predominantly light wind conditions over the past week. However the French pair got off to a terrible start in race 10 and never recovered finishing 20th. WILMOT and PAGE crossed the line in 10th good enough to extend their overall points lead to an unbeatable 22 ahead of the Medal Race on Monday.
The Australian team's consistency proved the key to their success in Qingdao. They do not count one race win amongst their score for the ten-race early series, but with all single-digit finishes going into today they had more room to manoeuvre when the pressure was on.
The Dutch team of Sven COSTER
and Kalle COSTER
also put in a strong performance today. Scores of 8, 4 and 2 lift them up to second overall, two points ahead of the French. ROGERS and GLANFIELD, silver medallists in Athens, are just three points further back.
Overal Results - click here