Gutsy Chan stays in the hunt for medal glory

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 August, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 August, 2008, 12:00am

Windsurfer Chan King-yin tightened his grip on a possible medal when he came third in race five at the Qingdao Sailing Centre yesterday.

With one result discarded after five races, the Hong Kong boardsailor remained second with 14 penalty points, six behind leader Shahar Zubari of Israel, who has led the 35-member fleet since the opening day.

In the women's event, Vicky Chan Wai-kei came eighth and, after discarding one race, the Hong Kong windsurfer is in ninth position.

Yin Jian of China leads the overall women's standings and looks likely to pick up China's first sailing gold after a second-place finish in Athens. She is on six penalty points, while her nearest challenger - Jessica Crisp from Australia - is four points behind. Marina Alabau of Spain is third with 15 points.

Three more races are scheduled for today, including one which was postponed from yesterday because of a lack of wind.

The medal run-in will be a lot clearer after today's races, according to Hong Kong's manager Daniel Lam Wing-chung.

'Chan is definitely in with a medal chance, but in sailing, a poor result in one race can make a big difference,' said Lam. 'He is being closely chased by a number of competitors, so it is still too early to make any predictions.'

Despite a forecasted wind speed of eight to 10 knots, there was insufficient wind for the boardsailors to start their race until later in the afternoon when the wind picked up.

Chan had a good start as he was the second sailor to get past the first mark, but gusty winds dropped him to 12th. He made a late surge, which saw him finish third.

'He handled the situation well because he had very good training in the Qingdao venue,' Lam said.

In other sports, Hong Kong competitors did not fare so well. On the athletics track, Lai Chun-ho made an early exit in the 100m sprint by finishing seventh in his heat with a time of 10.63 seconds.

It was a disappointing race for the young sprinter as his season's best was 10.38 seconds.

Swimmer Elaine Chan Yu-ning needed 26.54 seconds to finish her 50m freestyle heat. But she faced the same fate as her compatriot, failing to reach the next stage.

In rowing, Law Hiu-fung finished second in the men's singles D final with a time of 7:06.17, while Lee Ka-man was first in the women's singles E final in 7:56.07.