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4 January 2008, 10:01 am
SLINGSBY And BLANCK Win Australian Laser Titles
Sarah BLANCK hiking on the final day
Sarah BLANCK hiking on the final day

Laser Australian Championships 2008
Port Phillip, Australia

World Champion Tom SLINGSBY and Sarah BLANCK took the Laser and Laser Radial titles respectively at the ISAF Grade 1 Laser Australian Championship at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron this afternoon.
Tom SLINGSBY (AUS), who scored a 17th place in the penultimate race before finishing with a fifth in the final race of the Sail Melbourne event this afternoon. His major rival Overnight leader, Michael LEIGH (CAN) rose to the top again today after scoring third and second places.

LEIGH, who beat SLINGSBY at the ISAF Grade 1 Sydney International Regatta in December, fell down the leaderboard yesterday, but recovered in the light airs to finish only two points behind the 22 year old World Champion.

"I rounded the bottom mark the first time in second place, but fell into a hole on the left side of the course. Although I recovered some places, I couldn't find my way back to the top," SLINGSBY said of his 17th place.

"I'm still making plenty of mistakes, but I know what they are and I know I can fix them. I am taking this week off sailing to work on my fitness training and then I'll get back into sail training," said SLINGSBY, who has been chosen to represent Australia at the Beijing Olympic Games.

Of LEIGH, SLINGSBY says: "Mike's sailing really smart. He had a bad day yesterday, but he got back on track today. He is sailing really well and will definitely be a threat at the Worlds [at Terrigal] in February."

Great Britain's Nick THOMPSON and Dutchman Rutger VAN SCHAARDENBURG maintained fairly steady results throughout. However, the Brit came unstuck in the final race with a 23rd place, VAN SCHAARDENBURG in the previous race with a 20th place, ending both sailors chances of winning gold or silver. Neither seemed to enjoy the light decreasing 10 knot northeasterly breezes throughout the day.

The next best placed Aussie in the 64-boat fleet was Ashley BRUNNING from NSW, who is likely to get a berth for the Laser Worlds.

Sarah BLANCK (AUS) did Victoria proud today, her two wins in the final two races of the Australian Laser Radial Women's giving her the championship trophy. One of the world's best light air specialists, Jo ALEH (NZL) finished the series second overall and six points behind BLANCK, after finishing second in both races.

"I felt really comfortable today," BLANCK, who is heading to the Olympic Games next year, said. "I was crook day before yesterday and didn't sail. I didn't feel much better yesterday; I just had to push through the day, but today it all came together," she said.

BLANCK went on to say: "Jo is a light air specialist. I knew I had to beat her today to win the Championship and so it was pleasing to win both races.

"It'll be interesting next week at the Asia Pacific's at Sandringham Yacht Club, because the World's top three ranked will be there; Tania ELIAS CALLES [(MEX)], Anna TUNNICLIFFE [(USA)], Evi VAN ACKER [(BEL)] and also Sari MULTALA [(FIN)]. I have to see what I can do against them,"
BLANCK said.

Veronika FENCLOVA (CZE) finished third in the Championship, with Nathalie BRUGGER (SUI) fourth.

In the all-Aussie 4.7 fleet, Tasmanian Rohan LANGFORD took the rest of the 46 competitors to the cleaners, finishing an incredible 23 points in front of second placed Stephen COLLINGS, with another Victorian Jarrad LINCOLN just one point behind.

Sail Melbourne - www.sailmelbourne.com.au
Results - www.yachting.org.au/site/yachting/event/13897/default.html
Di Pearson (As Amended By ISAF)
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