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8 September 2008, 01:25 pm
US Favourites Lead SKUD18 Series
The SKUD18s line up at the starting line
The SKUD18s line up at the starting line

2008 Beijing Paralympic Games
Qingdao, China

Gold medal favourites Nick SCANDONE and Maureen MCKINNON TUCKER started their Paralympic campaign by taking the early lead in the SKUD18 series.
Nick SCANDONE and Maureen MCKINNON-TUCKER made a near-perfect start to the Paralympic Sailing Competition, scoring a second and win in races one and two at the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Centre on Monday.

"The conditions were up and down, it was difficult. But today we went out to sail, and as our coach always says 'don't mess with the best, because the best don't mess'. This always inspires us," MCKINNON-TUCKER said.

Although the Chinese crew of Hailiang JIA and Xiujuan YANG came out strongly in race one to defeat the Americans convincingly, SCANDONE and his crew did not let it rattle them and it was their turn in race two.

Following on from their bullet in race one, the Chinese team, silver medallists at the 2008 IFDS Worlds, finished fourth in race two to lie second overall. "We will just keep trying to do our best," JIA responded to congratulations on coming ashore this afternoon.

Dan FITZGIBBON and Rachael COX (AUS) who are third overall, threw everything they could at the USA crew in race two, the two crews sitting on opposite sides of the course coming home on the run, and team SCANDONE crossed the line 55 seconds in front of the Australians for victory and the series lead.

The other strong looking crew after today are the fourth placed Canadians John MCROBERTS and Stacie LOUTTIT. The duo placed third in both races and threatened the winners in both races. They are on equal points with the Australians.

Racing was originally to start from 13:00, but as the sea breeze fought the land breeze, race officials sent competitors back to shore to wait it out.

The wait was worth it, as a perfect 7-9 knot southeasterly breeze greeted the sailors when they hit the water just before 15:00.

Racing continues tomorrow from 12:00 local time when officials plan to run a further three races in the 11-race series.

Results - click here
ISAF Paralympic Games microsite -

Paralympic News Service (As Amended by ISAF)
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