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5 September 2003, 04:26 pm
Runners and Riders - Finn
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2003 ISAF World Championship
Bay of Cadiz

Physical power, technical excellence and determination are some attributes required of today's Finn sailor. No one can deny any of these top athletes their dedication and it will be a tough fleet that lines up on the start line off Puerto Sherry next week
Single-handed Dinghy Men - Finn

Again one of the most open and hard fought disciplines in the Olympic circuit, the Finn requires muscle and bulk to keep it under control, on a race course that is as tactical as they come. Last year's champion had only been in the fleet for some six months and there will be those who want to claim the title off him. He is of course, Sydney Gold medallist in the single-handed dinghy, Ben AINSLIE (GBR) who won the accolade of ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year 2002 for his achievements in the Finn.

Ainslie's most recent success was both a psychological and actual victory in this year's Athens Regatta. A result that will give him boosted confidence for the forthcoming defence of his title

Now on his final preparations looking forward to the Olympic Games in Athens next year, Ainslie will not want to allow any other member of the fleet to get a look in, but will seek to assert and consolidate his position at the top of the Finn game.

It won't be easy though. Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ (POL), has suggested at the recently held Gdynia Sailing Days that this may well be his last Olympic campaign in the Finn Class, and following a fourth place in Sydney to add to his `watchless' Gold medal in 1996, he will want to go to Athens confident of a medal.

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Belgian sailor Sebastian GODEFROID (BEL), after winning both the Finn European Championship and Semaine Olympique Francaise this year, and currently leading the ISAF World Sailing Rankings, looks set to have a good World Championship, and the battle for first place will most likely involve at least one, if not all of these athletes. Another Olympic veteran, Sebastian placed seventh in Sydney and claimed a Silver Medal at the 1996 Olympic Games.

Another one to watch is Karlo KURET (CRO), who is currently ranked at number 4, after a brief period as the world's number 1 in May 2003. An Olympic veteran, with three previous Olympics to his name, despite still being only 33 years old, Karlo has made a steady upwards climb in hist Olympic results from a 22 in 1992, 19 in 1996 through to a 10 in 2000. With some excellent recent form

The Finn Class has been used at every Regatta since 1952, when it made its debut in Finland.

Nations Already Qualified for the 2004 Olympic Regatta from results at the 2002 Finn Class World Championship:

Great Britain (GBR), Poland (POL), Croatia (CRO, Spain (ESP), Belgium (BEL), Germany (GER), France (FRA), Brazil (BRA), Ireland (IRL).

This regatta will see a further eleven nations granted an entry to the Olympic Games in Athens next year and competition will be hard for each and every one of those places.

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Tomorrow, we will bring you the latest form guide in the Windsurfer Men and Women, moving from boats to boards as the countdown to the championship continues. For further details and profiles of all competitors at the event - click on the ISAF sailor logo above.

Runners and Riders - previously published articles
Single-handed Multihull Open - Tornado
Single-handed Dinghy Open - Laser
Double-handed Dinghy Men and Women - 470
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