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23 September 2003, 07:33 am
Finn Medals To be Decided Today
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Ben AINSLIE (GBR)Hoping for Gold© Peter Bentley

2003 ISAF World Championship
Bay of Cadiz

With only two more days of racing until the conclusion of the 2003 ISAF World Championship, there is still all to play for.
Let us hope it is not the wind that decides to play games today and upset the racing.

This morning there is barely a zephyr across the surface of the water, and after yesterday's superb conditions, everyone is anticipating a repeat.

However, the weather has not let anybody down since the start of this ISAF World Championship 12 days ago, and it is unlikely it will happen now. The weather is fairly consistent and if light in the morning, as today, the breeze always kicks in around early afternoon.

It's the last day in the Finn class today, medal colours will be decided, a new World Champion crowned, and eleven more slots to the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 will be granted.

The top three in the current standings have a useful lead over the chasing pack, Andrew SIMPSON (GBR) in third is 16 points ahead of Jonas HOEGH-CHRISTENSEN (DEN) in fourth but not yet assured of a medal. Ben AINSLIE (GBR) and Rafael TRUJILLO (ESP), in first and second respectively, are having a close fought battle at the top. Only four points separate the pair and whilst they are sure of a medal each, today's finale will be tense and decide who is the 2003 World Champion.

In Rota, across the bay from Puerto Sherry, the 470's are into their penultimate day today. In the men's fleet things are pretty close for the medal positions, and with only one discard, all the top three have a dropped score. With three races to go the Italian team of Gabrio ZANDONA and Andreas TRANI hold a nine point lead, but are feeling the pressure and were bitterly disappointed with their 20 on Sunday. Behind them are Gustave MARTINEZ DORESTE and Dimas WOOD, a mere point infront of Alvaro MARINHO and Miguel NUNES (ARG). In a highly competitive 470 fleet every place won or lost round the race track for these guys could make the difference.

The Women's fleet have a clear leader in the form of triple World Champions from Greece Sofia BEKATOROU and Emilia TSOULFA, who today could add a fourth title to their string of successes in the class. Denied a medal in Sydney, their build up to Athens has been intense, and in the build up to a medal challenge in their own country, the World Championship will be a fantastic boost.

Behind them lie a couple more Olympic medallista vying for the title. Lisa WESTERHOF and Margriet MATTHIJSE (NED) and Jenny ARMSTRONG and Belinda STOWELL (AUS), are on equal points going into today, and as it has always been in the girls fleet, it will be close, competitive, and tough.

Chris DRAPER and Simon HISCOCKS in the 49er fleet have a double focus at this championship, to better their second place in last year's worlds in Hawaii, and Olympic selection for Athens. They aren't too far off the master plan at the moment, and lead the fleet by 24 points from their training partners Christoffer SUNDBY and Frode BOVIM (NOR). Marcus BAUR and Max GROY (GER) are in third place ahead of new father Rodion LUKA, sailing with George LEONCHUC (UKR), who head the ISAF World sailing rankings. With a further three races today, and two tomorrow, there is still a little way to go in the fleet.

Facts and Figures

The 2003 ISAF World Championship has attracted 71 nations together in Cadiz. Across the eleven Olympic events and nine classes, there are 993 entries and 1472 sailors.

As would be expected the biggest teams are from the USA, France, Great Britain, Spain, Italy and Germany. Will these number of sailors equate to a number of medals?

At the other end of the scale, there are many countries here with a single representative. For example the Netherlands Antilles with a single entry in the Laser, with Jan BUS, and

Of the single entries by nations, the majority are in the Laser and Mistral events:

Mistral Men - Indonesia,
Laser - Netherland Antilles, Chile, Dominican Republic, Iceland, Moldova, Peru, Seychelles, United Arab Emirates,.

Understandably, the largest fleet is the single-handed dinghy open in the Laser with 174 entries, however the fleet with the greatest number of sailors is the 470 men with 196 sailors from 38 nations.

In terms of the event which has attracted the most nations, this honour belongs to the Laser with 61 countries represented amongst its ranks.

Whilst this 2003 ISAF World Championship is no way completed, in terms of Olympic Qualification across the events, it is Great Britain that tops the league, and are qualified in every event except the double-handed dinghy women in the 470 and the double-handed dinghy open in the 49er. However, based on current results, this will be achieved by the end of the day tomorrow.

Australia, France, USA are also up there, and by the conclusion of the Championship have every opportunity to join Great Britain as the only countries to have full qualification for the 2004 Olympic Regatta.

Of our host nation, Spain, they are also up at the top, and will be anticipating qualification in the multihull open tomorrow. But, having failed to qualify in the keelboat men event in the Star, will not be able to complete the quota here, and will be hoping to claim one of the three slots up for contention next year.

Event and Class Number of Nations
Single-handed Dinghy Open - Laser 61
Single-handed Dinghy Men - Finn 36
Single-handed Dinghy Women - Europe 31
Windsurfer Men - Mistral 39
Windsurfer Women - Mistral 26
Double-handed Dinghy Open - 49er 31
Double-handed Dinghy Men - 470 38
Double Handed Dinghy Women - 470 28
Keelboat Men - Star 33
Keelboat Women - Yngling 18
Multihull Open - Tornado 26
Nation Number of Sailors
United States of America 106
France 101
Great Britain 90
Spain 90
Italy 75
Germany 74
Netherlands 54
Australia 51
Poland 50
Sweden 48
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