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Olympics - RS:X Exciting final medal round

The stage is set for an almighty battle for the men’s windsurfing medals at the 2008 Olympic Games with kiwi Tom Ashley right in the mix. Just one point separates the top three in the men’s RS:X class - France’s Julian Bontemps, Great Britain’s Nick Dempsey and New Zealand’s Tom Ashley going into their medal race set to be sailed tomorrow off Qingdao.

Barbara Kendall moved from 7th overall up to 6th place on the women’s RS:X leader board after race ten sailed today, and while the five time Olympian has booked a spot in the medal race her chances of adding a fourth Olympic medal to her collection of three has slipped away. The points gap for her to now catch up with the leaders is too great to get to the podium tomorrow.

MEN’S RS:X

The top ten to sail the medal race were decided today when race ten was sailed for the Men’s RS:X fleet. Things have closed up at the top of the standings and Tom Ashley’s three point leading margin after race nine has disappeared after he finished towards the back of the fleet today in very light conditions on course area B.

Ashley started well at the pin end forcing the others to tack away however after choosing to stay on the left the kiwi suffered dramatically when a 30 degree wind shift hit the course.

The kiwi discards his result from today, while those close on his tail in the standings both managed a decent finish in the race sailed today. Julien Bontemps of France now has the overall lead on 45 points while Nick Dempsey GBR and Ashley are both on 46 points, so it all comes down to tomorrows double-points medal race.

Neither Bontemps, Ashley or Dempsey is far enough ahead of the fleet on points to be assured of a medal just yet. Also in with a shot at a podium finish is early competition leader, Shahar Zubari of Israel. Zubari posted a 4th place in today’s race and is nine points back from Dempsey and Ashley, so a top medal race for him, combined with a poor performance for one of the leading trio could see him climb up.

Further back Ricardo Santos on 65 points has 5th place ahead of the deciding race tomorrow which leaves him an extreme outside chance to close the gap to the podium, though it’s near on impossible.

The Men’s and Women’s RS:X races will be sailed tomorrow with a scheduled start time of 1 o’clock local time.

Men’s RS:X (provisional)
Top five standings going into the medal race

1st FRA Julien Bontemps - 45 points
2nd GBR Nick Dempsey - 46 points
3rd NZL Tom Ashley - 46 points
4th ISR Shahar Zubari - 54 points
5th BRA Ricardo Santos - 65 points

WOMEN’S RS:X

The women’s RS:X fleet rounded out their ten race series today with Barbara Kendall finishing 21st in the race. Today’s race becomes her discard and she manages to leap frog Klepacka of Poland into 6th place.

Despite advancing up the standings Kendall appears to be out of range of the podium with a 22 point gap up to the 3rd placed Shaw of GBR. Alessandra Sensini today relinquished the overall lead to Jian Yin of China, who won today’s race, a master in the extreme light conditions.

Women’s RS:X
Top six standings going into the medal race

1st CHN Jian Yin - 33 points
2nd ITA Alessandra Sensini - 38 points
3rd GBR Bryony Shaw - 41 points
4th AUS Jessica Crisp - 46 points
5th ESP Marina Alabau - 46 points
6th NZL Barbara Kendall - 63 points

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