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16 July 2008, 06:37 pm
Tight At The Top On Day Four In Århus
Thiseas KAMPAS
Thiseas KAMPAS was the star of the show in the Boy's RS:X fleet today

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship 2008
Århus, Denmark

The top five places in the 29er boys, RS:X girls, Laser Radials and the SL16 are getting tighter with only two days left of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship.
The breeze was lighter on the Bay of Århus allowing for more of the sailors to excel as the conditions eased for them of day four of racing. The race committee set three races for each class today to catch up on those lost on the first day.

The British girls still rule the 29er class as Frances PETERS and Claire LASKO posted a 2, 1 and 3 on the fourth day of racing of the Championships. The Swedish team of Sara ENGSTRöM and Hanna DAHLBORG didn't have a great day on the water with a 5, 5, 4 which made them drop down to fourth from third. ENGSTROM commented after racing, "We were not happy with today but at least we are sailing more consistently now which is good. With only two more days it will be very close for all of us at the top." The Australians Hannah NATTRASS and Michelle MULLER, bronze medallists last year, moved into third with a two firsts and a ninth which they dropped as the second discard comes into play.

In the boy's fleet the American's Judge RYAN and Hans HENKEN had a great day with a 1, 2, 3 bringing them to the top of the pile. Henken explained how they started slow but placed themselves well in the lighter breeze. "We played the shifts downwind well and getting top three positions today was a great achievement." James PETERS and Edward FITZGERALD (GBR) where pushed down to second but are only a point behind the leaders. Australians Byron WHITE and Rhys MARA are now in third on 37 points, 14 points behind, with German BILLOCH and Gaston CHEB TERRAB of Argentina six points behind them.

France dominates the SL16 fleet for a second day with brothers Valentin and Romain Bellet winning two races and scoring a third in the last of the day. The South Africans Matthew WHITEHEAD and Micheal OVENSTONE are still in second but posted a 7, 2 and a 9. "We had a bad day today and it didn't help it was a very long day. The Singapore and New Zealand guys are back on form, which is good to see," said OVENSTONE. The third placed GBR team of James ELLIS and Andrew GLOVER are only two points ahead of the Danes Simon MICHAELSEN and Jacob DANNEFER and just one point behind the South Africans. With three races left in the series there is a lot to win and lose.

With the wind shifting in direction and speed throughout the day, consistency was key to success in the windsurfer fleets as both the light and heavy wind specialists had a chance to shine. Thiseas KAMPAS of Greece was the standout performer in the Boy's RS:X fleet, closing the gap on the overall leader - also his good friend and training partner - Michalis MALEKKIDES of Cyprus to just three points. Great final runs helped KAMPAS make up vital places to score second and third positions in races 7 and 8 before he sacrificed first place in the day's final race to force MALEKKIDES to the wrong side of the course. The strategy worked as the Cypriot posted an 11th place, his worst score of the regatta, whilst KAMPAS again finished strongly take fourth place. KAMPAS said his performance today, particularly his strong finishes, were principally down to a more confident approach, "I didn't have it [confidence] the days before because I was so nervous, because of the wind I was saying oh no, it's high winds again. But today I said to myself, 'okay I'm here to fight, to fight until the end' and that's what I did."

Laura LINARES (ITA) had another stellar day in the girl's RS:X fleet, with a second place followed by her fifth and sixth bullets of the regatta. With just three races remaining and no score worse than a fifth the Italian looks well on the way to a third consecutive Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship title. Maja DZIARNOWSKA (POL) and Patricia FREITAS (BRA) continue to battle it out behind the leader, with just two points separating them in second and third place respectively.

Pavlos KONTIDES (CYP) had a rare blip today with a fifth in race 8, but sandwiched between a bullet and a second place it did nothing to affect his dominant position at the top of the Laser standings. Luke LAWRENCE (USA) tightened his grip in second place with a win the day's final race, whilst Denmark's Thorbjoern SCHIERUP remains in third. SCHIERUP said back in the dinghy park, "I've mixed feelings about today. The gap up to second has opened up, but at the same time I'm more isolated in third. But I had by far preferred to have the chance to fight my way up the list instead of defending the third spot."

Like KONTIDES, Australia's Gabrielle KING is looking odds on to defend the title she won last year in Kingston. She added a third bullet to her scoreline and maintained her run of all top-five finishes to extend her overall lead in the Laser Radial fleet. Susana ROMERO of Spain admitted she still hasn't got to grips with the changeable conditions in the Bay but nevertheless won the day's final race to propel herself up the leaderboard. The young Spaniard is aiming for a confidence boosting performance in Denmark before heading to Qingdao, China where she will represent Spain at the Olympic Games.

Tomorrow two races (three for the 29ers) are scheduled for each event, starting at 12:00 local time. With just one race remaining for each fleet on the final day of the championship on Friday, victory is within grasp for some of the fleet leaders setting the scene for an exciting penultimate day in Århus.

For Live online tracking of the races from Sportcasting click here

Click here to get the latest video podcast from the Volvo Youth Sailing World Championship

Results - click on the links below for the latest results

Boy's One Person Dinghy - Laser
Girl's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Boy's Two Person Dinghy - 29er
Girl's Two Person Dinghy - 29er
Boy's Windsurfer - RS:X
Girl's Windsurfer - RS:X
Multihull - SL16

Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship microsite - www.sailing.org/youthworlds
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