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UAE SAILORS SET SIGHTS ON ASIAN GAMES AS WIND TURNS ITS BACK ON NATIONS CUP QUALIFIER

UAE SAILORS SET SIGHTS ON ASIAN GAMES AS WIND TURNS ITS BACK ON NATIONS CUP QUALIFIER

06.04.2006: UAE SAILORS SET SIGHTS ON ASIAN GAMES AS WIND TURNS ITS BACK ON NATIONS CUP QUALIFIER




Turks locked in battle to win place in Dubai final

Dubai, UAE - The UAE’s young sailing team today (Thursday) set their sights on the 2006 Asian Games in December as the wind turned its back on the ISAF Nations Cup regional qualifying round in Dubai.

The Jebel Ali Sailing Club team skippered by Christopher Graham struck the first blow in the Nations Cup semi-finals when they took an immediate 1-0 lead over Turkey in their best-of-five match racing series.

As the faint winds off Dubai International Marine Club were reduced to a whisper, no more racing was possible by mid afternoon, leaving Asian champions India still waiting to start their semi final against Cedric Le Rest’s crew from the host club.

When racing resumed the Turks, skippered by Orkun Soyer, quickly struck back with a win to level their semi-final clash with Le Rest at 1-1.

While both of the UAE national teams failed to reach the knockout stages following a three-day round robin series of match racing, the Emirates’ 20-strong squad were quickly told to focus on the Doha Asian Games in December.

Italian coach Raymond Tonelli announced an intensive training programme for the 20-strong UAE squad from which a five-man crew will be selected to represent the Emirates in Doha.

After preparations at Dubai International Marine Club in the weeks ahead, Tonelli will assemble the young UAE squad in Italy for two summer training clinics in July and  August. A further clinic and more intensive training will be conducted in Dubai in November before the UAE team is selected for the Asian Games.

"We’ve got some very talented young sailors," said Tonelli. "They are all very keen to learn, and they will gain from their experience in the Nations Cup this week.

"You have to remember that they are very young and have been competing against crews who are much more senior and experienced. They have a lot of hard work ahead of them, especially in gaining a fuller understanding of the rules of match racing and how to use them to their advantage. But they will only get better."



Although they also failed to make the knockout stages in Dubai, the UAE ladies team skippered by Bekky Britton will be in the grand final line-up in Cork, Ireland in September, going through as the only all-ladies crew in the qualifying round.




- Tony Lewis, Narayana Marar, Total Communications Dubai -

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06.04.2006 / MaP

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