Merricks and Walker continue to impress

Taking no risks, John Merricks and Ian Walker kept Britain at the top of the pile in the 470 class at the French Olympic Week regatta here yesterday.

The pair were at their best, a fifth and an eighth giving them a 12-point cushion over Estonia's Toniste brothers, the 1988 silver medallists, going into the final pair of races today.

Andy Beadsworth, who worked so hard to reach the final eight of the Soling match race play-off, found himself having to argue for a second chance to be one of the two from places five to eight in the fleet qualifier to join the top four in the Olympic format of a six-way round-robin. He, Magnus Holmberg of Sweden and Luis Doreste of Spain all had two wins. At first, the tie-break would have seen Beadsworth out as he was eighth in the fleet racing, but it was decided the three would race each other. Doreste lost to both, and Beadsworth was through.

From there it was downhill as he lost to reigning gold medallist Jesper Bank, then to Denmark's Stig Westergaard. He beat the Dutchman Willem Potma and then had to win the reprise to reach the semi-finals, as did Jochen Schumann. The German went smoothly through.

In the Europe single-hander, Shirley Robertson lies second to Carolijn Brouwer of the Netherlands with a ninth, a first and a 16th. In the Tornado catamaran, Dave Williams and Ian Rhodes had a second and a fifth.

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