Late surge by Merricks and Walker takes title again

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The Independent Online
They won it last year and Britain's John Merricks and Ian Walker took the 470 class title again in the French Olympic week here yesterday.

Behind them were the Dutch Kouwenhoven brothers, to whom they should never have lost the World Championship in Brazil. And behind them were the reigning Spanish gold medallists, Jordi Calafat and Francisco Sanchez, as well as the Greek world No 1 pairing of Andreas Kosmatopoulos and Kostas Trigonis.

Merricks and Walker needed only one good result yesterday to secure victory, but they had a bad start and were 23rd at the first turning mark. That was the point they chose to power their way to fifth.

In a less happy state were their counterparts in the women's class. Bethan Raggatt and Sue Carr have looked out of sorts this year, a far cry from the combination that was fourth in the European Championship last year and swept all before them in the British trials. They have the equipment and the fitness, but seem out of gear on the race course. An adjustment programme is being devised.

On track, however, was Shirley Robertson, who was third overall in the Europe singlehander. The winner, Carolijn Brouwer, is not going to the Games. And having a better second half were the Tornado catamaran pair David Williams and Ian Rhodes while the Finn class representative, Richard Stenhouse, has recovered sufficiently from illness to contest the Gold Cup in La Rochelle next Thursday.

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