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SCOOP, Olympic Update, Wednesday, 27 Sept, 2000

SCOOP, Olympic Update, Wednesday, 27 Sept, 2000
Article: Mathew Loh


ON A stormy 11th day of competition at Sydney 2000, New Zealand hopes were pinned on the experience and skill of our Soling crew who were sailing for a place in the medal round.

Rod Davis, Alan Smith and Don Cowie had sailed brilliantly in difficult conditions to make the final six crews, who now match-race their way through a brutally cut-throat round-robin with the two bottom placed teams at the end eliminated before the medal round.


Lining up against New Zealand were crews from Germany, Norway, Russia, Denmark and the Netherlands.


And with every crew world-class and including in the words of veteran yachting commentator Peter Montgomery the "rock-stars" of sailing in the bevy of multiple Olympic medalists and world champions dotted liberally among the three man crews New Zealand's sailors would have to be at their very best to compete.


The first race saw immediate Kiwi success with the crucial start won New Zealand easily accounted for the Russians in the first of the day's match-races.


However it was a different story against the Danish crew, led by one of the world's finest sailors in Jesper Bank, and New Zealand were outgunned at the start and suffered a comprehensive defeat. The third race saw another defeat to the Dutch crew and then triple gold medalist Jochen Schuemann and his savvy German crew proved themselves superior and New Zealand went into the last race desperate for victory.


This desperation was evident throughout a riveting race during which New Zealand appeared to be dead and buried until the final seconds when they cameback to scoot to a crucial win over Norway which left in fourth place and in position to challenge for a medal in the semi-finals.


Other New Zealanders to sail on the 11th day of the 27th Olympiad were Clifton Webb in the Finn Class who had an 11th and 12th to be 15th after six races; Sarah Macky, Europe Class, is 11th after eight races with a 5th and 15th on Tuesday; Peter Fox in his Laser is 21st after 7; and in the Open Star class Jamie Gale and Gavin Brady sailed to a 5th and 15th to remain in ninth place after six races.

Other Kiwis to feature included heavyweight weightlifter who put in a good performance to finish 18th behind the world's strongest man and gold medalist Hassein Rezazedeh of Iran.

In the equestrian dressage Kallista Field is in 13th place while in the women's cycling road-race Jacinta Coleman came 18th, Roz Reekie-May 36th and Suzy Pryde failed to finish after a crash and flat tyre.

On the basketball court both the Tall Blacks and Tall Ferns won their first games of the tournament beating Angola and Senegal 70-60 and 72-69 respectively. These wins saw each team finish in 11th position.


However the incredibly high standard of sailing on view in the Soling was evident in New Zealand's next two races which they lost to

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