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12 September 2003, 04:26 pm
Top Two in the World Cannot be Split
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Sari MULTALA (FIN)

2003 ISAF World Championship
Bay of Cadiz

The Women's Single-handed Europe class have finished their first two qualification races in the strong easterly Levante and the Two Top ranked sailors in the world are both tied with two wins apiece.
Sari MULTALA (FIN) and Siren SUNDBY (NOR), separated for the first day of racing, whether or not they are separated tomorrow depends on the sailing instructions as they are tied for first place, and as per the sailing instructions, should go into the same group for tomorrow's racing.

Speaking to Sari MULTALA at the conclusion of racing on her approach to today's racing she advised, that in the first race, she went to the right whilst many of the boats set off to the left. However, this move clearly paid dividends and was the favoured side, with considerably more wind. As Sari commented, "Many of the crews were `banging the corners', which was not gaining them any ground." She went on to say, "Downwind the conditions were patchy, with holes, which made the sailing a lot tougher."

Unbeknown to Sari, overnight she regained her title as the world's top Europe sailor in the ISAF World Rankings, and she managed a controlled smile when advised of the news.

This move knocked Siren SUNDBY back down to number two, from the top slot she held for one ranking release. However, Sari confirmed that their on-the-water confrontations are not carried across to the shore where they are very much friends.

On her expectations for the competition, "It is early days yet, we will see." However, whilst many of the Europe sailors prefer the stronger breeze, Sari seems unconcerned if the winds go light, as forecast.

Joakim WILENIUS (FIN), Sari's coach, was looking pretty happy with today's results, and when asked on how prepared Sari is for the Worlds, responded, "Sari has been waiting for this Championship. She gets `more sharp' when the competition gets important."

They clearly look confident, and with Olympic Qualification already secured and a virtual guarantee of representing Finland in Athens, Sari's primary goal is to claim the World Championship title back from Sarah BLANCK (AUS).

It goes to show, in the Europe's at least, how the rankings reflect the current form as the pair can hardly be split in performance throughout the year. First and second at Semaine Olympique Francaise in Hyeres, it was Siren who had the slight edge from Sari, as it was at the Europe European Championship this year.

Spa Regatta saw the results differ slightly as Sari MULTALA took a well deserved win in the fleet, with Siren finishing first. So after the first day here in Cadiz, the front runners, at least in the strong winds, are coming to the fore.

Defending World Champion Sarah BLANCK had a difficult start in race one and seemed buried, however, she pulled off a particularly good comeback effort to finish race one in eleventh place. She currently lies in 24 place overall after today, with some work to do.

Petra NIEMANN, currently third in the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, had a tough first race, finishing 17 in the fleet of sixty boats, but managed to score a third place in race two, behind the dominant Multala.

Interestingly, despite being the world ranking leader for all of the past two years, aside from the recent let-off to Siren, Sari has not managed to win either of the 2002 or 2003 Athens Regattas, which are sailed in an Olympic Games environment. At the 2000 Olympic Regatta, Sari placed fifth, on equal points with Neus GARRIGA (ESP), but Neus placed fourth on countback. Meanwhile, Siren was down in 19 overall.

Both Sari and Siren have considerably increased their game since Sydney and are certainly the main two contenders for the World Championship title.

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Siren Sundby Training in Cadiz
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