Gold in sight as mainland rivals fail to show up

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 December, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 December, 2009, 12:00am

Vicky Chan Wai-kei led Hong Kong's charge towards gold in the waters off Stanley with the local boardsailors continuing their domination, which was helped by organisers adding an extra race to the schedule yesterday.

Chan won all three races in the women's RS:X class to remain unbeaten and has one hand on the gold medal, especially with her two mainland opponents failing to turn up for a second successive day.

An 'injured' Chen Peina and a 'sick' Zeng Huiyan are all but out of contention, Hong Kong head coach Rene Appel believes.

'The Chinese girls, who I believe were injured and sick, didn't turn up today also and there is no word from their camp. It will make little sense, in terms of results, for them to start racing now,' Appel said.

'Vicky is sailing well. She has won all her [five] races and it's looking good for her,' Appel said.

Japan's Yuki Kanai was in second place in this category, a distant four penalty points behind, while Chan Hei-man was lying third.

There was more good news when race officials decided the strong wind conditions in Stanley were too good an opportunity to miss, and told all four classes an extra race would be put on.

'The race committee can add races if they wish to,' Appel said. 'They did it to get ahead of the schedule, in case there is no wind in the next few days.'

The extra race saw the competition reach the halfway mark, and Hong Kong are well placed to grab three of the four gold medals on offer. Apart from Vicky Chan, both entries in the mistral events - Cheng Kwok-fai in the men's lightweight and Leung Ho-tak in the men's heavyweight - put clear water between them and the rest of the pack.

Cheng had two firsts and a second finish to take a three-penalty-point lead over Ma Yik-kau of Macau, who has an aggregate of seven points after dropping his worst result.

Leung had a six-point lead over Taiwan's Chang Hao, while teammate Tang Kang-to was in overall third place, a further point adrift.

Appel's only worry was the performance of Ho Chi-ho in the RS:X men's class. Ho, who opted to take part in this Olympic category, could manage only two third-place finishes and one fourth yesterday to trail leader Lee Tae-hoon of South Korea and Japan's Makoto Tomizawa in the gold-medal hunt.

'Ho needs to start winning races,' Appel said.