400 sailors headed to Qingdao for Olympics Games

July 18, 2008 at 9:16 am Leave a comment

The Yellow Sea of Qingdao will welcome 400 sailors from 62 countries during the Olympic Games in August, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) confirmed on July 15. The ISAF outlined the Olympic competition on its website after receiving confirmation of national places for the 11 Olympic sailing events.

The field of competitors includes a few gold medal-winning teams from Athens, including a couple of triple Olympic medalists.

Ben Ainslie from Great Britain, who was the gold medalist in the Laser Dinghy in 2000 and the Finn Dinghy in 2004, is hoping for a repeat in the Finn Dinghy this August, while veterans Roman Hagara and Hans Peter Steinacher from Australia will be competing for their third consecutive Olympic gold in the Tornado. Spain’s Iker Martinez and Xabier Fernandez will be defending their 49er gold from Athens and Faustine Merret of France is going for a second consecutive gold in Women’s Windsurfing.

Three gold-medal teams from Athens will be competing in events different from the ones they won four years ago. Siren Sundby, winner of the Single-handed Dinghy in Athens, will be at the helm of the Norwegian Yngling Keelboat in Qingdao; Sofia Bekatorou, winner of the Two-person 470 in Athens, will be at the helm of the Yngling for Greece. After dominating the Laser Dinghy for many years and winning a gold medal in the event in Athens, Brazilian Robert Scheidt has teamed up with Bruno Prada to compete in the Men’s Keelboat.

The team from Great Britain that won gold in the Women’s Keelboat in Athens is back, but without Shirley Robertson at the helm. Original team members Sarah Ayton and Sarah Webb are joined in Qingdao by Pippa Wilson.

Host country China will pin its gold medal hopes on Athens silver medalist Yin Jian in Women’s Windsurfing and young Xu Lijia in the Women’s Laser Radial.

The Olympics will use a new Medal Race format for all its events. An opening series of five days will determine the top 10 crews in each event. The finalists will then compete in a Medal Race, in which the points are doubled, to determine gold, silver and bronze. Competition starts on August 8 and concludes August 21.

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