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Olympic Squad Sailors Show Form at Hyeres

Olympic Squad Sailors Show Form at Hyeres
Date Released: Jodie Perkins
From: 28 April 2006

Five YNZ Olympic Squad campaigners are in tonight's final medal race at the Semaine Olympique Francaise regatta in Hyeres, France.

This is the first of the European ISAF Grade 1 regattas to use the new Olympic racing format where only the top ten sail the last race which has double weighting in the point score.

Andrew Murdoch (Laser), Jo Aleh (Laser Radial), Dan Slater (Finn), Tom Ashley (Mens RS:X) and Sharon Ferris with her Yngling crew will be competing in one race tonight to determine the final places. JP Tobin (Mens RS:X) narrowly missed inclusion in the top ten when last night's one shortened race, in light conditions saw him drop to twelfth place.

"We're really pleased to see these squad members make it into this top group," says Olympic Operations Manager, Leslie Egnot. "For many of them it is their first European regatta of the season; the fleets are big and standards are high. We're hoping to see a good finish to this regatta and then see them continue to improve."

19 year-old Jo Aleh is the highest placed of the kiwis going into the medal race sitting in fifth in a strong Laser Radial fleet of 80. While USA's Paige Railey and Sophie de Turckheim of France are well advanced in the top two spots, there is just one point between Aleh and bronze. As the result in the medal race earns each sailor double points it is crucial for Aleh to perform tonight.

Dan Slater holds sixth place going into the final race in the Finn class and is also in a position to improve his final placing with a good race tonight. Edward Wright of Britain has been dominant in the Finns and goes into the medal race with a 19 point margin over second.

Tom Ashley who was recently named in the Olympic Squad has had two wins in the ten races sailed in the Men's RS:X board sailing. Currently in seventh place, Ashley will be looking to finish the regatta on a high note. JP Tobin disappointingly slipped out of the top ten overnight and therefore will not sail the medal race giving him a final place of twelfth overall. 95 sailors have been competing in the Men's RS:X.

Both Andrew Murdoch in the Laser and Sharon Ferris, Raynor Smeal and Ashley Holtum in the Yngling also hold seventh place on the leader board going into the final medal race tonight.

26 kiwis are competing in Hyeres and full results are available on the regatta website through the link below.

Results after Day Five
New Zealanders in the Top Ten

Andrew Murdoch (Laser) - 7th
Jo Aleh (Laser Radial) - 5th
Dan Slater (Finn) - 6th
Tom Ashley (RS:X Men) - 7th
Sharon Ferris, Raynor Smeal & Ashley Holtum (Yngling) - 7th


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