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12 February 2008, 09:13 am
SLINGSBY Hits Back At Laser Worlds
Tom SLINGSBY
Tom SLINGSBY goes a hiking

Laser World Championship 2008
Terrigal, New South Wales, Australia

World Champion Tom SLINGSBY stayed cool under pressure at the Laser World Championship grabbing two wins to reclaim the overall lead.
Overnight leader Julio ALSOGARAY (ARG) finished sixth and ninth in the Toro sponsored finals races 9 and 10 off Terrigal in what in turning into a real pot boiler. Tom SLINGSBY (AUS), on 27 points, leads the Championship by a mere two points.

He commented after racing: "It was a good day. I did things the simple way. I got good starts and had good speed. I hit the shifts right - I couldn't have asked for any better."

"The first race was really close,"
SLINGSBY continued, "but in the second I got a good lead after the first mark and kept going. I just tried to hold everyone off." It was an understatement; SLINGSBY was awesome in race 10. Rounding the first mark, there was no way anyone would catch him past that point as he extended his lead.

"It was beautiful out there. A nice 15 knot northeasterly in the first race and 18-20 knots in the second. We had big waves, but the shifts were small today - 5-10 degrees," the 23 year old said.

However the Central Coast resident, did concede: "Julio still hasn't had a bad race, so I need to get a bigger gap on him tomorrow if I'm going to win. I have to forget about my bad day yesterday and do tomorrow what I did today."

Tonight, whilst SLINGSBY is training down and eating in preparation for an early night, he will miss the NSW Sports Star of the Year Awards in which he is a finalist - only rarely are sailors given this honour.

Javier HERNANDEZ (ESP) finished 11th in race 10 to hold on to third place overall in the gold fleet and is 11 points adrift of SLINGSBY with two race drops in place. Vaslilij ZBOGAR (SLO) has quietly made his way to the top of the board for fifth overall following credible fourth and eighth places today.

In a see-sawing game for the Kiwis, Michael BULLOT is the lead one tonight, in fifth place on 51 points. As countryman David WEAVER pointed out: "Yes, we keep changing places between Mike, Andrew [Andrew MURDOCH] and me; it's that sort of regatta. Very tricky every day, anything can happen - and does!"

Second places in race 9 and 10 went to German sailors. Toby SCHADEWALDT claimed the goods in race 9, Malte KAMRATH doing the honours in race 10.

"I started left of the middle and powered off the start to windward of Tom SLINGSBY; that felt good," KAMRATH said. "I tacked once to the left to go up the beat - it was a long beat, but left was favoured. I was third at the next windward mark, then made my way back to second on the downwind. I was very fast downwind today.

"From there, I just defended my position. It was great conditions; constant wind, sun, no current and waves in one direction only - really good,"
he said.

Others enjoyed the day too. Marc DE HAAS (NED): "It was pretty good - fantastic conditions. It was beautiful sailing; this is the second time this week only that I am smiling!" DE HAAS, in 15th place, is the best placed Dutchman.

Fourteenth placed Greek sailor Adonis BOUGIOURIS commented: "I capsized in the first race, then in the second race I lost a lot of places - I thought I had weed on my centreboard, but when I looked, it was broken in half. It was a good day anyway, beautiful sailing on big seas - I enjoyed it."

In the silver fleet, Maxim SEMERKHANOV (RUS) is 20th overall following races 9 and 10. The Russian sailor lives and trains primarily in Moscow, on the Moscow water reservoir. "Of course the sailing conditions here are totally different from the ones I encounter at my training, and it takes a while to get used to bigger waves and stronger winds," he said.

However, he is enjoying racing and his first trip to Australia. "The weather has been unexpectedly rainy during my stay, especially because Australia has the reputation of being 'the dry continent," says SEMERKHANOV who is attempting to qualify Russia for the Beijing Games.

In the bronze fleet, Thomas BARROWS (ISV), although disappointed he will not qualify the US Virgin Islands for the Beijing Games, is enjoying the Championship. "It was a good day. Nice conditions; wavy and sunny and a lot of fun," he said.

"We had some close racing today. The second beat pretty much determined who would win both races. Yeah, I'm enjoying the regatta, but it's very tiring because of the conditions and cos everyone's so good," continued BARROWS who is currently 13th overall in his group.

Racing continues tomorrow with the final two races of the finals races in all groups. Stay tuned....

Results - http://aus08.laserinternational.org/results.php
Laser World Championship - http://aus08.laserinternational.org/

Di Pearson
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