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20 March 2008, 09:05 am
STEYAERT Wins Laser Radial World Title
Sarah STEYAERT
Sarah STEYAERT, the 2008 Laser Radial World Champion

Laser Radial World Championship 2008
Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand

Sarah STEYAERT of France won the Laser Radial World title after a sensational finish to the regatta which saw China's Lijia XU disqualified from the final race.
The DSQ score for Lijia XU (CHN), the 2006 World Champion and overall leader going into the final day, ultimately cost her the World title as the six-day regatta concluded off Takapuna, North Shore City, Auckland today.

Sarah STEYAERT (FRA) had an excellent day on the water, lying third at the start of the day she won race 9 of the championship this morning and then placed 5th in the final race which was enough to secure her the title. It is STEYAERT's first ever World title and far and away her best World Championships result, her previous best being a sixth place in 2006.

STEYAERT was aware of what she needed to do as things unfolded on the water in the final face. Presented with a large bunch of flowers on the podium after racing the French woman had a grin from ear to ear, delighted with the result.

"I saw her take the flag," said STEYAERT, "and I knew that I had to finish in the top 14 - I knew the points. And I did it, so I knew I had the World Championship."

Disappointment for XU, who has been outstanding throughout the regatta, came with a disqualification in the final race, a ruling on body movement that came from the on water judges. Despite losing her grasp on the title at the final hour XU comfortably won the silver medal.

When asked about the disqualification after reaching the beach XU admitted she was disappointed.

"It was very disappointing, but a lesson learnt," explains XU. "I will do better in Qingdao."

Andrea BREWSTER of Great Britain got up to claim the bronze medal after sitting fifth in the overall standings at the start of the day. The final two days of racing were BREWSTER's best and were what sealed a podium spot for her.

"I'm really, really pleased. I don't think it's sunk in yet," said BREWSTER at the conclusion of racing. "I was fifth going into today, and I knew if I sailed like a sailed yesterday, then I had a shot at the podium, and I did, so it was great. I couldn't have had a better day really."

The final day spelt disappointment for Belgium's Evi VAN ACKER who had a shot at the title at the outset of racing today, lying second overall. In her worst day yet VAN ACKER recorded a 47th and 20th slipping out of the medals and back to ninth overall.

Local girl and world #1, Jo ALEH (NZL) was unable to improve her standing today and finished up 14th overall, after some highlights and some lowlights over the course of the event. She was the best of the New Zealanders competing, with Sara WINTHER coming in 17th.

Results - click here
Laser Radial World Championship - www.takapunaworlds.org

Jodie Bakewell-White
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