Korea first Olympic qualifier

Tom Slingsby slips to second position at the Laser World Championship

Monday February 11th 2008, Author: Di Pearson, Location: United Kingdom
A beautiful summer day in Terrigal on the first day of the 2008 Laser World’s Finals Races sponsored by Ross Fehlberg Austorient; sunny skies and a pleasant 10-15 knot north easterly breeze – ideal sailing conditions – for some.

In the 54 boat Gold fleet, World champion Tom Slingsby (AUS) lost his Championship lead to Julio Alsogaray from Argentina. Alsogaray continues to sail smartly and has moved back into the lead he had until yesterday.

“It was shifty and I went the wrong way every time; I had a really bad day,” an understandably unhappy Slingsby said after his worst results so far – a 14th and an 18th to move down into second place, seven points behind Alsogaray who is on 23 points following fourth places in race seven and eight.

“It was good racing. I had a good performance with fast speed. There were lots of shifts and I picked them,” the Argentinean said, revealing: “Music from Argentina inspires me.”

Not one of the hot favourites going in to the Championship, Alsogaray says: “I expected to do well. I am very confident with my speed. I will do everything in my power I can to win the World’s – that is why I came to Australia.”

Spanish entry Javier Hernandez is third overall, 19 points behind Alsogaray. Felix Privot (FRA) moves up into fourth place (44 points) and Michael Bullot (NZL) is fifth (49 points).

Like Slingsby, Championship favourites Paul Goodison (GBR) and Andrew Murdoch (NZL) did not have a good day across the board and both slid down the results; Murdoch from eight to 12th after a 28th and 15th and Goodison from sixth to 15th following third and 20th finishes.

Others were happy with their lot in life. Brazilian Bruno Fontes, in eighth place overall said: “I had a good day – my first Final day was a really good day. I am happy,” he said.

“Sailing was nice. I went OK. I have been sick, but I am better today – it is nice to have the sun back,” said Arvid Claeson (SWE) who is currently 39th overall.

Overall in 20th place, Jean-Baptiste Bernaz was smiling. “I finished second in race eight, which is much better than my 27th in the earlier race,” he said.

Athens Laser bronze medallist Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) is in seventh place overall. “I did not do very good (he finished 13th and 16th), it was very patchy – the shifts went left and right – it was very hard to predict. Not easy.”

The ever-positive American Brad Funk had a better day and moved up from 27th to 19th overall. “I had a really great day; I got the nerves out of my system and just went sailing. It was beautiful conditions. I saw a 6ft shark out there. He told me his name was Willy!”

Greek sailor Adonis Bougiouris in 28th overall said: “I had one bad race, finished 36th, then I had one good race, finished tenth! It was very very shifty, you couldn’t predict what would happen next.”

Too many sailors came ashore early; most were Black Flagged following General Recalls. In fact four from the Silver fleet and a staggering 11 from the Bronze fleet were sent home from the last race of the day.

Irish sailor Anthony Craig, one of many trying to qualify his nation for the Beijing Games, was one of the first to go in the Silver fleet. “I had a disaster in the first race and then I got done. It was great breeze out there though. It was around ten knots in the earlier race and increased to around 15 knots from north-east,” Craig said.

Australian Simon Morgan came ashore with the same tale. “I didn’t do very well in the first race and then I got Black Flagged,” he said. Canadian Christopher Dold also went. “I finished around 15th in the first race, but I was Black Flagged in the second. Apart from that, I’m enjoying the Championship,” he said.

Jeemin Ha made a name for himself overnight as his point score on reaching shore following three races at the Laser World Championship last evening guaranteed him a place in the 53 boat Gold fleet Finals and hence Beijing Olympic Games qualification for Korea.

Ha found out this morning but was oddly subdued. “Yes, it is good for me and Korea. It is special,” he said when questioned, but was not running around telling everyone as most others would.

The only non-qualified nation sailor to make the Gold fleet, Ha said he felt proud to be in the Gold fleet, from where the Championship winner would come, and to qualify Korea for the Games, but now wanted to concentrate on the rest of the Championship, due to finish on Wednesday afternoon. Only nine places for the Beijing Games in the Laser class remain.

Others in the running to qualify their nations at the Worlds being held off Terrigal in Australia are in the Silver Fleet and include; Andreas Geritzer (AUT), Raul Aguayo (DOM), Juan Maegli (GUA), Gyorgy Fazakas and Zsombor Berecz (HUN), Anthony Craig and Ryan Seaton (IRL), Hisaki Nagai, Yoichi Iijima and Yoshihiro Okinishi (JPN), Kevin Lim (MAS), Igor Lisovenko and Maxim Semerkhanov (RUS), Leong Seng Koh (SIN) and Christoph Bottoni and Max Bulley (SUI).

This is the final opportunity for nations to qualify for Beijing. The best nine unqualified nations at the end of the Laser World’s will gain the final places.

Those who missed out hid their disappointment well as they headed out of the boat park onto the race track this morning. “Today is another day. I will go and try my best,” smiled Colombian sailor Andrey Quintero who is in Australia without a coach or support.


Pos Helm Sail Number R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 Tot
1 Alsogaray Julio  ARG 193001  1 1 5 -8 7 1 4 4 23
2 Slingsby Tom  AUS 193007  3 5 1 1 4 2 14 -18 30
3 Hernandez Javier  ESP 193040  6 1 -19 7 2 2 5 19 42
4 Pruvot Felix  FRA 193048  4 7 5 10 2 8 8 -45 44
5 Bullot Michael  NZL 193120  1 17 10 9 5 6 1 -25 49
6 Zbogar Vasilij  SLO 193133  4 2 6 5 4 -19 13 16 50
7 Fontes Bruno  BRA 193011  1 10 3 -13 10 13 11 7 55
8 Lima Gustavo  POR 193123  15 1 9 9 8 1 15 -35 58
9 Weaver David  NZL 193119  7 -26 1 4 1 4 20 23 60
10 Schlonski Alexander  GER 193068  7 4 4 12 6 25 -41 11 69
11 Murdoch Andrew  NZL 193117  20 -32 3 2 1 1 28 15 70
12 Thompson Nick  GBR 193062  10 9 17 1 1 3 -53 29 70
13 Del Solar Matias  CHI 193025  2 3 12 13 4 19 -22 21 74
14 Goodison Paul  GBR 193064  8 33 4 3 3 (dsq)  3 20 74
15 Porozynski Karol  POL 193122  7 14 18 11 13 4 10 -49 77
16 Steyaert Jeremie  FRA 193050  21 22 4 6 -25 23 2 1 79
17 Vujasinovic Milan  CRO 193033  2 -48 13 2 9 10 23 22 81
18 Funk Brad  USA 193131  5 2 3 3 (bfd)  raf  7 8 82
19 Bernaz Jean-baptiste  FRA 193049  -27 3 11 14 22 7 27 2 86
20 Campbell Andrew  USA 193153  11 13 17 -23 22 7 6 12 88

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