London 2012 Women's Match Racing quarterfinals - Tunnicliffe and Macgregor out
The Dutch team of Renee Groeneveld, Annemieke Bes and Marcelien Bos-De Koning were dispatched 1-3 by the form team this week, Australians Olivia Price, Nina Curtis and Lucinda Whitty.
Surprisingly, the US team of Beijing Laser Radial gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe, Debbie Capozzi and Molly O'Bryan Vandemoer were beaten by the recently crowned World Champions from Finland, Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva and Mikaela Wulff 1-3.
Other former World Champions were less fortunate with the French team of Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou going down 0-3 to Spain’s Tamara Echegoyen, Sofia Toro and Angela Pumariega.
The closest match was between the British team of Macgregor sisters Lucy and Kate and Annie Lush at the hands of the Russians, Ekaterina Skudina, Elena Syuzeva and Elena Oblova, the only series to go to five races.
The hardest match was between the Finns and their American rivals. “Good and bad, it was a little bit controversial,” admitted Silja Lehtinen of the result when she got in. “Very happy about our own performance coming through to the semis, but at the same time I feel bad for our training partners and I would have loved to have met them in the Finals.”
Of their final races today Lehtinen said: “It was very difficult on the race course with a lot of shifts and it was difficult to predict where they would come from. In the first one they got a little bit better start than us and on the second upwind, they were ahead of us and then we were really close and on the second upwind they were ahead, but they got a left shift and gained four boatlengths and the race was pretty much over then. In the second we got them in the start to leeward and then we tacked and held them to the layline and then after that they stayed really really close but we managed to stay ahead until the finish.”
The Finns now progress through to the semis where they have to face the Australian team, which so far has only dropped one race throughout this competition. “We have a good chance. They are a really really good team who have been improving a lot this year, sailing better and better," says Lehtinen. "Even if they are young, they have sailed Elliotts long than anyone - that is the boat they have been training on at Youth Squad at home, so they have a really good base.”
In comparison the Finnish team was one of the last to get their London 2012 campaign underway, just over two years ago. Like the Raileys in the US team, Silja’s brother Lauri is also in the Finnish sailing team and was a contender for bronze in today’s 49er race. “It was tough seeing them not make it through.”
Anna Tunnicliffe was trying unsuccessfully to hold back the tears when she got in. “It was really close race all around the track,” she said of their last match. “They led us from the start onwards. Our goal was to keep it close and attack on the last downwind leg, but they positioned their boat in the perfect position which made it really really difficult for us to get around and hard as we tried we just couldn’t quite do it in time.”
The only quarterfinal series to go the whole nine yards was between the Brits and Russians. While the Brits went 2-1 up after winning the first match today, Ekaterina Skudina’s team fought back to claim the final two. However in the penultimate race there was a photo finish and the British team sought a request for redress over whether the point for that race should have been theirs.
Coming ashore Lucy Macgregor made a brief statement. “We have got ashore and as it stands we have lost the quarterfinals, which we are gutted about, but we are proud of the way we have sailed. We have really put up a good fight today. The fourth race was extremely close and there is video evidence showing that we did cross the line before the Russian team hence why we are now going to put in a protest and hope to get the win of that race that was given to the Russian team.
“At the end of the day if they won the race they sailed very well today and all credit to them. We are obviously desperately hoping it is our win as the video evidence seems to suggest.”
Sadly the International Jury’s view was that the video footage of the finish line wasn’t as straight as the video seemed to indicate and the Russia kept the point.
Lucy Macgregor concluded: “We sailed well over the last two days and we are pleased with how we picked up our game, not that we ever had any doubt that we could do that. We put up a really good fight, as did the Russians and thought we had won that fourth race, hence why we protested, we wouldn’t have done otherwise. The race committee unfortunately didn’t take our evidence so the result stands and the Russians advance through to the semis and unfortunately that’s our medal hopes over.
“It’s been an awesome four years and you know we did sail really well today, we just missed out on race four which obviously feels like a massive missed opportunity right now. We really raised our game in the quarter-finals today and we will be proud of that in a few days to come.”
More photos from Carlo Borlenghi/www.borlenghi.com/FIV