San San blows her title chances

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 May, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 May, 2000, 12:00am

SUNSHINE and strong winds welcomed back boardsailors competing in the European Championships yesterday as the field returned to action following a rest day.

For Olympic champion Lee Lai-shan, however, it was a disastrous day.

Poor finishes in two races marred by a premature start and a collision with a French competitor saw San San's title chances evaporate in the Spanish port of Cadiz.

Both San San and former world junior champion Ho Chi-ho, who was also hit by a competitor, filed protests over the collisions with the race committee.

National coach Rene Appel was clearly annoyed by the chaotic circumstances.

'In the protest hearing, San San's witnesses failed to establish that there was any contact and the protest was dismissed. It's a waste of precious time.' Appel explained San San's mistake in the first race: 'At the start of the race, she heard her sail number called by the committee boat and she returned assuming she crossed the start line too soon. It was one big struggle to get back up to an 18th-place finish.' San San was expected to tumble from her third place overall despite a fourth finish in yesterday's second race.

The competitor who crashed into Ho was punished accordingly but it did not help much as Ho registered disappointing 40-34-34 finishes.

'In one race, a Frenchman changed direction to hit Ho on purpose and knocked him into the water,' said Appel. 'He continued abusing Ho verbally around the course and after the finish. The Frenchman was handed a one-year warning for poor sportsmanship and disqualified for that race.'