Solid start for the Aussies on day one of the Paralympics
Aussies are leading in the Sonar and SKUD classes after a strong first day at the Rio Paralympic Games. In sunny, warm conditions, the breeze built throughout the day from the south to around 10-12 knots, providing close racing in many classes.
DANIEL FITZGIBBON AND LIESL TESCH (2-PERSON SKUD)
Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (SKUD18)
Defending Olympic champions, Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch lead the SKUD 18 fleet after the first day of racing in Rio. The Aussies posted a win in the first race and then crossed the finish line second in race two to take the overall lead. They are currently three points clear of the teams from Canada and Poland who both lie on six points in equal second place.
“We had a good first day,” said Fitzgibbon. “We were happy to get that one out of the way. The second race was tough, but it’s going to be a tough week!
“The conditions here are pretty crazy. The tides are crazy and there’s a lot to think about out there.”
Meanwhile Matt Bugg is currently lying fourth overall in the International 2.4mR class. He recorded a third place in the first race, and then a fifth place in the second race of the day. He is currently on eight points overall with third-placed Dee Smith from the USA. Great Britain lead the fleet overall followed by Germany.
“The first day is always a bit of a stress for me,” said Bugg at the conclusion of racing. “I’m ready for the next five days now. I didn’t sail to the best of my ability, but it wasn’t my worst. I’m happy to end up with eight points after the first day. Both those races are keepers, so I’m happy with that."
“We had great conditions today. The top mark on our courser was close under Sugar Loaf, so the wind was shifty, but we all had to deal with the same stuff. “
COLIN HARRISON & JONATHAN HARRIS & RUSSELL BOADEN (SONAR)
Colin Harrison & Jonathan Harris & Russell Boaden (Sonar)
In the Sonar fleet, Colin Harrison, Russell Boaden and Jonathan Harris also had a strong start to their Olympic regatta. The Aussies won their first race, then had to fight back in the second race of the day. They were eighth around the first mark, and gradually moved their way back up the fleet to cross the finish line in second place. They are currently lying first overall ahead of Greece and New Zealand.
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Early lead for Tesch and Fitzgibbon
Australia’s dynamic sailing duo, Liesl Tesch and Dan Fitzgibbon, have sounded an ominous warning to their competitors in the Rio Paralympic regatta, surging to an early lead in their title defence on day one at Marina da Gloria.
In the build-up to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition the sky has been a dull shade of grey, but the minute the first day of racing started, the stereotypical Rio de Janeiro sunshine came out with a 10 knot wind to boot.