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1 August 2008, 09:44 am
LEROY Leads The Way At Lysekil Women's Match
Claire Leroy
All smiles for Claire Leroy who leads the way in Lysekil

Lysekil Women's Match 2008
Lysekil, Sweden

World Champion Claire Leroy from France lost only one match to win the first round robin at the ISAF Grade 1 Lysekil Women's Match in Sweden.
Among the home sailors Jenny AXHEDE (SWE) ended up with 7-4, while defending champion Linda RAHM (SWE) and fellow Swede Anna KJELLBERG both scored 6-5. Thanks to her victory in the match against Kjellberg, Rahm took the last slot in the next round robin.

"This was even more exciting than we had expected it to be. We had finished our matches and counted and counted when the last matches were sailed, but we thought that we could make it," Rahm commented.

Kjellberg, who made a real break-through in early July, reaching the final and finishing second in the event in Marstrand, Sweden, was eliminated from further sailing in Lysekil Women's Match by the smallest possible margin. Her loss against Rahm cost her the slot in the next round robin.

"Of course we feel a little unhappy being so very close to getting another chance in the event. But we've had great fun and we've learned a lot, making a lot of things work easier onboard," was Kjellberg's analysis. "But we'll be back, we've only just begun," she promised with a big smile.

Thursday's matches in Lysekil Women's Match were sailed in high pressure weather with weak winds, burning sun and strong current, which put the sailors to test. Axhede lost her two first matches for the day, against Katie SPITHILL (AUS) and world #1 Claire LEROY, but later managed to win the last match against Silke HAHLBROCK from Germany.

"We gated in from port but wanted to get to the starboard side of the course. That was really difficult to achieve. Now we are aiming for the new matches, everyone is important," Axhede said.

An obvious sign on the difficult circumstances during Thursday was Leroy losing her first match so far during the event, against American Liz BAYLIS. Leroy won the start, made the umpires give Baylis a penalty and had a comfortable lead on the first upwind, but she lost the match anyway.

"We threw away all our advantages in choosing the wrong way up the course," Leroy laughs, saying that they at least made all their mistakes in one single match. "Our next goal is to reach the semi finals, which we expect to do. So far we have placed second in Lysekil twice, and we hope to do better this year," she said, laughing again.

Lysekil Women's Match continues on Friday with a new round robin, including the six best sailors from the opening round robin, namely: Leroy, Lotte MELDGAARD PEDERSEN (DEN), Lucy MACGREGOR (GBR), Spithill, Axhede and Rahm. Two crews are excluded after that, leaving four semi finalists for Friday afternoon. Saturday will host the closing of the semi finals, and then the final.

Results - click here
Lysekil Women's Match -
Joakim Hermansson
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