San San sailing towards second title

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 29 June, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 29 June, 2002, 12:00am

World champion Lee Lai-shan is on course for back-to-back triumphs in the space of a month after retaining pole position in the Kiel Week Regatta in Germany yesterday.

On the opening day on Thursday, San San was in the same superb form that helped her capture her fourth SPA Regatta in Holland last month, winning all three races. The SAR's 1996 Olympic champion remained top of the 41-strong women's fleet, although her lead over second-placed Lise Vidal of France was reduced to four points from six after she finished eighth, second and sixth in yesterday's races.

On her race-winning performance on the first day, Hong Kong coach Rene Appel said: 'She was in the top group at every first mark, rounding in the shifty conditions and soon overtook the others and increased her lead in most of the races.'

Appel said San San demonstrated her strong ability to stage a comeback in yesterday's first race, in which she sprang back from 15th to eighth. 'She continued to the left side of the course when a large shift gave the women on that side a 100-metre lead at the first mark,' he said.

With 2000 Sydney Olympic champion Alessandra Sensini missing the regatta, Vidal, who finished in the top four in all six races, was San San's greatest threat. Another French sailor, Faustine Merret, was third on a 26 points. San San's teammate Chan Wai-kei was ninth on 44.

In the men's fleet, Ho Chi-ho showed he was still Hong Kong's top male sailor as he remained on course for a top 10 finish. He was ranked 10th on 32 points, while teammates Cheng Kwok-fai and Chan King-yin were 15th (43 points) and 18th (45 points) respectively. For Chan and Cheng, it was not only a battle for glory, but also for a place in the SAR Asian Games squad - Chan is just a few points ahead in the selection trial rankings. The results of international regattas will be used to decide the final places. Ho's recent good results mean he has secured one of the two spots in the men's lightweight mistral category for October's Pusan Asian Games. The Kiel Week Regatta concludes tomorrow.