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13 August 2008, 01:55 pm
Australia Hangs Tough In The 49er But Day Belongs To USA
Tim Wadlow and Chris Rast of the USA
Tim Wadlow and Chris Rast on their way to one of three race wins today

2008 Beijing Olympic Games
Qingdao, China

The US crew of Tim WADLOW and Chris RAST stole the show with three straight wins on Wednesday as Australian pair Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN hung on to their lead in the Skiff - 49er event.
All three races were leg-for-leg battles as medal favourites mixed with rank outsiders.

"Tons of people would love to be in our position," Tim WADLOW said. "We had good starts and stayed super calm - telling some jokes out there. The Chinese wind God woke up for us."

Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN, the reigning 49er World Champions, did not let the pressure of holding the overall lead get to them, although they now lead Danish duo Jonas WARRER and Martin IBSEN be a mere point.

"We didn't even think about the Danish before the Olympics," OUTTERIDGE said. "They've come out and surprised all of us."

"We tried to cover the Italians and the Danes, but at the same time, sailed our own race. We've still got six races to go before the medal race, so we've got to keep the results up,"
added the young Aussie skipper.

The Danes' fourth, second and ninth places have them well in contention just past the midway stage.

Trailing the Danes by 10 points are brothers Pietro SIBELLO and Gianfranco SIBELLO (ITA). The brothers had an unfortunate 12th in race 6, which widened the gap on the top two crews.

Stevie MORRISON and Ben RHODES (GBR), 2007 World Champs and last year's Test Event winners, staged a comeback of sorts. They were disqualified for being over the start line in race 7 but put that behind them and have moved to eighth overall after finishing third and second in the next two races.

"We've haemorrhaged a lot of points in the last few days. We had a broken mainsheet and an OCS [over the start line], so we're not so confident about going to the medal race, but we will continue to do our best," MORRISON said.

Athens gold medallists Iker MARTINEZ and Xabier FERNANDEZ (ESP) had a solid but unspectacular day. Scores of 7, 10, 3 put them sixth overall, 15 points off the medal positions.

In race 7, the first of the day, an inconsistent breeze produced big holes, resulting in boats going wide left and right at the first Ieeward gate and catching support and media boats off guard as they threaded through the small flotilla.

Places changed regularly throughout the three races, leaving spectators on the edge of their seats.

Racing continues on Thursday with a further three races planned from 13:00.

Overall Results - click here

ISAF (source: Olympic News Service)
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