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SCOOP Olympic Update, Wednesday 19 Sept, 2000

SCOOP Olympic update, Wednesday, 19 September, 2000
Article: Mathew Loh

DISASTER at the equestrian course was followed by chaos on the water but thankfully for New Zealand's increasingly disappointing Olympic campaign our sailors emerged unscathed to remain serious medal contenders.


Sydney Harbour was calm with light winds causing havoc among those contesting the Olympic regatta. With conditions testing the competitors our Soling crew of Rod Davis, Don Cowie and Alan Smith reveled in the pressure and using all their experience, skill and pure gut-instinct they finished the fourth race in an impressive second place over-all.


Barcelona gold medalist and Atlanta silver medalist Barbara Kendall in the women's boardsailing also finished the day upbeat and confident about her medal prospects.

Kendall has been a refreshing voice of happy optimism since day one of the 27th Olympiad and her attitude has been rewarded with a series of consistent performances which has her in third place after four races.


New Zealand success on the water wasn't repeated on the softball diamond where the White Sox reliance on Gina Weber was severely exposed.


With Weber tired after pitching epic 10 innings games in a loss to Australia and a victory over Canada the Chinese women showed up the weakness of the rest of the New Zealand squad as they thrashed the White Sox 10-0 in six innings.

Weber was obviously in need of rest and her back-up crew of Ruta Lealamanua, Fiona Timu and Jade Bailey were clearly not up to the required standard.

China dominated the New Zealanders in every area and Yang Ming was in especially irrespressible form as she slammed two home runs and recorded three RBI's.

New Zealand will be deeply unhappy with their capitulation under pressure and now lie in fifth place in the group behind Australia, Japan, USA and China.

Other New Zealanders to feature on day four included Peter Jackson, Tim Slyfield and Elizibeth Van Welie who were eliminated from the table-tennis, judo and swimming respectively.

Li Chunli remains alive in the women's table tennis but must face world No 1 Wang Nan of China in her next match.

And at the velodrome New Zealand's men's 4000 metre cycling pursuit team finished sixth and then settled back to enjoy history being made as the powerful German team sped around the boards to shatter the world record and become the first team to break the elusive 4 minute barrier for the 4k pursuit.


Other highlights of day four included South Korea winning gold, silver and bronze in women's archery; Tom Malchow winning gold in the men's 200 metre butterfly; Susie O'Neill winnng her first freestyle medal in the 200 metres; and the Australian "fabulous foursome" men's 4x200 metres relay team broke their own world record to win gold in the pool.

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