San San sailing through the pain

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 September, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 September, 1999, 12:00am

Lee Lai-shan battled through the pain barrier to improve her overall position at the Pre-Olympic Regatta in Sydney yesterday.

The Olympic champion shrugged off an ankle injury to finish ninth and fifth in the two latest races.

Her brave display saw her improve one place to fifth in the overall standings after the third day of racing.

San San entered the Olympic dress rehearsal with her chances undermined by injury and a lack of water training due to her commitment to her studies.

She struggled to make an impact on the first day and again had to settle for moderate finishes yesterday.

She is tied for points with world number one Alessandra Sensini, but the Italian is fourth in the standings due to her better highest-place finish.

Former Olympic champion Barbara Kendall of New Zealand is the overall leader, three points ahead of Australian Jessica Crisp.

San San had a poor start to race five yesterday, coming off the line late.

Although she sailed the shifts well up to the first mark, she gybed too early after rounding it, sailing away from the advantaged side of the course.

She made the same mistake at the same mark on the second lap and had to settle for ninth position.

San San had a better start in race six and rounded the top mark in third place - but was unable to maintain her position and eventually dropped to fifth.

It is the first outing in four months for the Atlanta gold medallist, who has been studying for a sports management degree in Canberra.

World junior champion Ho Chi-ho had a tough day in the men's event.

He dropped three places to 26th overall in the 36-strong fleet after finishing 31st and 35th in yesterday's races.

The regatta has been a massive test for Ho with the competition switching between five courses - each featuring different wind conditions.

'He showed his lack of experience and was unable to capitalise on the dominating shift pattern,' Hong Kong head coach Rene Appel said.