Appel backs his charges to beat strong winds

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 May, 2007, 12:00am

Coach Rene Appel is confident his boardsailors will be able to achieve the required results at the world championships for obtaining Olympic berths despite the likelihood of unfavourable wind conditions.

Hong Kong are sending a strong RSX fleet of four men and two women to the world event, which will take place in Cascais, Portugal, from June 28 to July 13. It will be the principal qualification regatta for the 2008 Olympic Games, with 75 per cent of all national places to be decided there.

Strong winds are expected in the Atlantic coast resort - 30 kilometres west of Lisbon, and Hong Kong windsurfers struggled to do well in similar conditions at Hyeres Olympic Week in France recently.

Chan King-yin, the Asian Games gold medallist in Doha, led the 108-strong fleet after six races under light wind conditions, with teammate Ho Chi-ho in third place.

Heavy winds in the last two days blew away their winning chances and the duo finished ninth and 10th respectively.

'It is a big challenge for every lightweight boardsailor sailing in strong winds because it is difficult for them to match boardspeeds against heavier sailors,' Appel said. 'We faced the same problem in France, but with more on-the-water training in Europe I think we can make some improvements in strong winds in the weeks ahead.'