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1 July 2008, 03:39 pm
LEROY vs Host Nation At Match Cup Sweden
Anna KJELLBERG celebrating
Anna KJELLBERG celebrating progress to the knockout stages in Marstrand

Match Cup Sweden 2008
Marstrand, Sweden

All three Swedish skippers secured their spots in the semi-finals of ISAF Grade 1 Match Cup Sweden, Women class along with world #1 Claire LEROY of France.
Jenny AXHEDE (SWE) showed her class winning all her seven matches in the round robin, while 23 year old Anna KJELLBERG (SWE) made a sensational breakthrough in the international sailing world, winning five matches. Linda RAHM (SWE) and reigning World Champion Claire LEROY (FRA) each won six matches which secured their semi-final spots.

KJELLBERG and her crew jumped up and down with happiness on the deck of their DS37 match racer after winning their last match against American Sandy HAYES. But it was not until they reached the dock they understood that their aggressive sailing style, which appeared to take her competitors by surprise, paid off the extent of a place in the semi-finals.

"I am totally exhausted, this is crazy. But all credits to my team, we have had an incredibly good atmosphere on board. Everything just danced, the boat, the rudder and the sheets," said KJELLBERG, with the widest of smiles.

She considers this her best performance of her career, even counting the team's fourth place in the European Championship in Vigo last year. And undoubtedly this is her and her team's breakthrough in international sail racing.

"We have never gotten the chance to sail in big events like this before, so today we are incredibly happy. Now we have to celebrate tonight and start charging for Saturday's competition - we are not quite satisfied yet", KJELLBERG said.

AXHEDE and her team showed world-class match racing skills and were simply unbeatable, upsetting world #1 LEROY and the rest of the international women's match racers in both Monday and Tuesday's races. Seven matches won and none lost made her a clear winner of the round robin series.

"We have been focused and had a great team work onboard. All day we have been very calm and safe in our manoeuvres and had a lot of fun in the hard wind. This is our first hard wind sailing this year, and it created quite a lot of adrenaline", AXHEDE from Gothenburg commented.

With wind strength up to nine meters per second, the boats sailed with a reefed main and a small jib. The third Swedish skipper going to the semi finals, RAHM, wasn't completely comfortable with this and said she and her team were not totally satisfied: "We are happy to go on to the semi finals but our sailing has not been 100 percent good, which we have to improve to Saturday's final sailings."

France's LEROY, who has been #1 on the Women's ISAF World Match Race Rankings list since 2005 and is the reigning world champion, also secured a semi-final spot.

"We were more focused and secure than yesterday", explained LEROY.

Results - click here

Lars-Ola Nordqvist (As Amended By ISAF)
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