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24 September 2003, 08:24 am
The Final Day
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Finn Medallists© Event Media

2003 ISAF World Championship
Bay of Cadiz

It's the last day of the championship today and whilst for some it involves a late start and a slow pack up for the ride home, for the five remaining classes it dawned bright and early for the racing finale.
At the Finn medal ceremony yesterday evening, Ben AINSLIE was presented with the perpetual Finn Gold Cup, the highest accolade in the class worldwide and one that carries with it huge prestige.

For the remaining five events racing their medal deciding races on the Bay of Cadiz, the day dawned bright and early, with a light, cool breeze and clear skies.

In two fleets the new (or repeating) World Champions have been decided. Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS (GBR) in the 49er have gone one better than their result in Hawaii last year, and claimed that elusive title of 49er World Champions.

Fellow team members, and rivals for the Olympic slot for Great Britain at next year's Olympic Games Paul BROTHERTON and Mark ASQUITH, who now lie in silver medal position going into today, chased the British pair hard.

The 470's over in Rota are another class with their World Champion decided. Sofia BEKATOROU and Emilia TSOULFA made history yesterday by claiming their fourth World Championship. The remaining medal positions are being fought by Jenny ARMSTRONG and Belinda STOWELL, coached by the legendary Victor KOVALENKO, and French sailors Ingrid PETITJEAN and Nadège DOUROUX, who are currently in silver medal position. Only a point separates the pair, and whilst a ten-point gap to fourth doesn't guarantee them a medal, it is a useful cushion.

The men's fleet in the 470 is wide open, and could produce Spain's first Gold medal of the championship. Current leaders Gabrio ZANDONA and Andreas TRANI (ITA) and Spanish sailors Gustavo MARTINEZ DORESTE and Dimas WOOD are on equal points so the final race really is the decider.

In third place are Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE, continuing their fighting comeback and in with a chance of victory, being only five points behind the leaders.

Both the Tornado and Laser fleets will complete one final race today and anticipation is steadily mounting, whilst we wait and see if Robert SCHEIDT (BRA) in the Laser, can achieve an unprecedented seventh victory in the Class at World Championship level. He has a slim two-point margin in front of Gustavo LIMA (POR), who in turn has a 20 point lead over third placed Michael BLACKBURN (NZL), who himself has made a glorious comeback to Laser sailing after a year out following the Sydney Olympics.

Leaders up until yesterday, and still having a fantastic championship Leigh McMILLAN and Mark BULKELEY (GBR) have dropped to second after nine races and going into the final day must make up a four point deficit on Darren BUNDOCK and John FORBES, who's vital race win yesterday, snuffled them into the top spot.

Third place are class converts from the Laser and Mistral, Santi LANGE and Carlos ESPINOLA (ARG) with much to do to catch the front two up with only one race to go.

The forecast for today is for more of the light westerly breezes we have seen over the last couple of days. A challenging test for the final showdown here in Cadiz.

President of the IOC Cup

To be presented tonight, the President of the IOC Cup, will be awarded to the top overall nation.

Earlier in the week, the USA held the top slot, after their Gold medal in the keelboat women event in the Yngling and Bronze in the single-handed dinghy women in the Europe, followed by Norway and Poland on a Gold medal apiece.

At that stage Great Britain didn't even figure. Move on four days and the conclusion of four more events, and it is Great Britain who lead the world. With another Gold Medal in the double-handed dinghy open in the 49er not yet counting in the ranking, it seems certain that Great Britain will claim the honour of being the top performing nation at the inaugural ISAF World Championship.

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President of the IOC Cup © ISAF

There follows the current standings, taking in the results from the Europe, Yngling, Mistral Men and Women, Star and Finn.

Position Nation Gold Silver Bronze
1 Great Britain 1 0 2
2 France 1 0 1
2 Israel 1 0 1
2 USA 1 0 1
2 Norway 1 0 0
2 Poland 1 0 0
3 Finland 0 1 0
3 Germany 0 1 0
3 Greece 0 1 0
3 New Zealand 0 1 0
3 Spain 0 1 0
3 Sweden 0 1 0
4 Denmark 0 0 1
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