Sailing: Ainslie 'shocked' by end of discard rule

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The Independent Online

Ben Ainslie reacted strongly yesterday to a controversial decision taken here that marks a major change to the way in which the Olympic regatta will be run in Athens next year.

The 1996 and 2000 gold medallist, who is also the current world champion in the Finn single-hander, the class in which he will represent Britain next August, heard that the annual general meeting of the sport's world governing body, the International Sailing Federation, had unexpectedly voted to veto the practice of allowing competitors to discard their worst result in what is normally an 11-race schedule.

"I am very shocked to hear that," Ainslie said. "I am not sure where they are coming from. I hope they have thought long and hard about it. That means someone may not make it to the podium because of breakage. It's just stunning. I don't think you would find many of the sailors in favour of that decision."

The discard procedure is in general use and the move applies only to the 2004 Olympics. "That," Ainslie said, "only makes it more ridiculous."

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