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Barbara Kendall Dominates at World Champs

'GOLDEN GIRL' BARBARA KENDALL DOMINATES AT WORLD CHAMPS

Barbara Kendall has demonstrated her Olympic medal winning form at the 2002 King Power Mistral World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand. She dominated the 64 competitor fleet, holding onto the top spot from day one of the championship, her convincing lead on Faustine Merret of France meant she did not have to race in the 10th and final race of the competition.

In finishing within the top 10 in the women's fleet, she has qualified New Zealand for a place at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. From here she needs to finish in the top five at the Cadiz Combined World Championships, in September 2003 to confirm her place in the New Zealand Olympic Team.

This is the first major competition Kendall has entered into since her retirement from competition to start a family. Her daughter Samantha Bright was born in August of 2001. At the age of 35, she was the oldest competitor in the women's fleet.

This is the third World Championship Regatta that Barbara has won - she secured the title of Women's Mistral World Champion in 1998 and 1999. Kendall is also a three times Olympic medallist with Gold in Barcelona 1992, Silver in Atlanta 1996, and Bronze in Sydney 2000.

In the men's fleet of 104 competitor's, the top 12 Nations qualified their Country for a place at the 2004 Olympics. The top NZL competitor Thomas Ashley (18) finished in tenth place, being the first to qualify in the men's Mistral class. Had Ashley finished outside the top 12 Nations, Jon Paul Tobin's finish in 13th place would have been within the qualifying standard. Fellow NZL competitor in the men's fleet, Matthew McCormick, finished in 46th place.

Yachting New Zealand's Chief Executive, Simon Wickham comments, "This is a fantastic step towards Athens 2004, having qualified in both the men's and women's classes. It is wonderful to see Barbara on top of the world again, proving that the time off hasn't affected her performance, and she proving that she can still beat the best of the best in the class. Thomas has had a fantastic year and to qualify the class at such a young age will be the icing on the cake for him".

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