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Olympics - RS:X Tom and Barbara both improve their positions with Tom now placed 1st after 7 races.

Tom Ashley and Barbara Kendall sailing two races each in strong winds and heavy rain with mixed results for NZ sailors, but good results for the RS:X team.

MEN’S RS:X

Today’s wet and windy conditions provided an exciting prospect for Tom Ashley who often demonstrates the advantage of performing well regardless of the conditions. So while the Auckland based windsurfer, who is competing at his second Olympic Games, has been consistent in the extreme light of Qingdao so far, he can also produce results on windy days. And that’s what Qingdao provided today – 15-20 knots of south westerly winds with swelly, choppy sea conditions.

“The racing is extremely tight and everyone is sailing at a very high level,” said Ashley yesterday. “Events like this generally are won and lost on attrition as guys make mistakes and take themselves out of the running, so consistency will definitely be the key as the regatta goes on and we race in different conditions.”

Underway on schedule today the Men’s RS:X started first on course area B at around midday, organizers hoping to fit in three races to catch up on the programme. At mark one Ashley was buried in the fleet rounding in 17th place, dropping back to 27th at one point. But, as he did in race five, Ashley staged a comeback, up to 5th, and gaining another place on the final run to the line, finishing 4th.

In race seven which followed Ashley didn’t lose sight of the leaders, rounding each mark within the top five, and again passing sailors as the race progressed to record a 3rd place. As some of his counterparts fell by the wayside unable to bring home the results in the strong winds Ashley moved up the leader board to take the top spot after seven races.

Ashley will compete again tomorrow.

Men’s RS:X (provisional) top five results after 7 races

1st NZL Tom Ashley - 25 points
2nd FRA Julien Bontemps - 30 points
3rd ISR Shahar Zubari - 31 points
4th GBR Nick Dempsey 11 - 33 points
5th HKG King Yin Chan - 40 points

WOMEN’S RS:X

Barbara Kendall was strong in the breeze today as well, continuing her climb up the standings in the women’s RS:X improving from 6th to 5th overall after today’s racing. Kendall, like Ashley is showing consistent results finishing within the top four in her most recent four races, her worst result so far coming in her first race of the regatta.

Points are close around her, Kendall is four adrift of Marina Alabau ESP in 4th and three points ahead of Bryony Shaw GBR. China’s Jian Lin of Qingdao is China’s biggest hope for a sailing medal continuing to lead the Women’s RS:X ahead of three time Olympic medalist Alessandra Sensini of Italy.

Both RS:X medal races are scheduled for Wednesday 20th so there is time in the schedule to complete the ten race series to decide the top ten. They will be back on the water again tomorrow.

Women’s RS:X top six results after races

1st CHN Jian Yin - 16 points
2nd ITA Alessandra Sensini - 23 points
3rd AUS Jessica Crisp - 26 points
4th ESP Marina Alabau - 28 points
5th NZL Barbara Kendall - 32 points

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