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9 January 2008, 11:36 am
Gold And Silver To Australia At 29er Worlds
Byron WHITE and William RYAN
Silver medal winners Byron WHITE and William RYAN

29er World Championship 2008
Sorrento, Australia

In a coup for Australia, Western Australian Institute of Sport (WAIS) sailors Steven THOMAS and Jasper WARREN have won the 29er World Championship at Sail Melbourne today.
The duo took victory shortly after it was announced another pair of Australians, Nathan OUTTERIDGE and Ben AUSTIN, had won the 49er Worlds.

Steven THOMAS and Jasper WARREN were not in the box seat coming into the final day, but their fourth and two wins this afternoon clinched the Championship. They beat nearest rivals and silver medallists Byron WHITE and William RYAN (AUS) by a sizeable 19 points and bronze medallists Max RICHARDSON and Alex GROVES (GBR) by 29 points.

The massive points win was unusual in that the championship lead swung in roundabouts, new leaders appearing just about every day.

WAIS coach Belinda STOWELL, the gold medallist in the Women's 470 class at Sydney 2000, said: "I'm very proud of the boys. They did very well."

WARREN, 18, from East Fremantle, said late this afternoon: "We came to the Championship with an open mind, but of wanting to do well. We set ourselves a goal of finishing in the top ten - that would have been a bonus. To win is awesome.

"We bought this boat a year ago, with the 29er Worlds in mind. We knew the British and Danish crews would be strong and also the Australia crew of Jamie WOODS and Joel ROSE [they finished tenth], so we feel pretty happy and proud,"
he said.

"We've only been sailing together since November 2006," chipped in 19 year old skipper THOMAS who lives in Wembley Downs. "Jasper and I used to sail against each other as 13, 14 and 15 year olds. We're planning to buy a 49er this season, the main ambition is to go to the 49er Worlds in 2111 and then aim for an Olympic campaign," he said.

"It was great seeing Nathan [OUTTERIDGE] win today. He's been a hero in my eyes for a very long time. He won three Youth Worlds and made a big comeback after his accident - well, you have to look up to him," THOMAS said.

"We have to thank our coaches David MANN [a 49er sailor himself] and Belinda STOWELL, they've been great. Also we want to thank the organizers and everyone who made this event possible, it's been a great week," WARREN said.

Bleddyn MON and Tom HUMPHREYS (GBR) finished fourth overall and NSW brothers Andrew CHAPMAN and William CHAPMAN (AUS) finished fifth. Next came the first all-girl crew of Annemiek BEKKERING and Jeske KISTERS (NED) who led the series coming into today's final three races.

Sail Melbourne - www.sailmelbourne.com.au
Results - www.yachting.org.au/site/yachting/event/14245/

Di Pearson (As Amended By ISAF)
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