Sailing: Ainslie secures emphatic win

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The Independent Online
BEN AINSLIE rounded off another triumphant Olympic regatta with an emphatic win in the Laser class here yesterday. The 22-year-old, who won silver at the 1996 Atlanta Games, is now making a habit of beating the reigning gold medallist, Robert Scheidt, of Brazil, and at the Spa event showed consistent mastery in a variety of conditions.

It has been a week of all-round satisfaction for Britain's Olympic squad, though Andy Beadsworth was disappointed not to make the cut for the matchrace final in the Soling, won by local bronze medallist Roy Heiner.

But, as the coach, Bill Edgerton, pointed out, he had shown he was back on the pace with crew Barry Parkin and Richard Sydnenham in the Fleet racing. And that is what will be needed if he is to produce a good enough result at the European Championship in July to qualify for Sydney next year.

Before that, a friend and former rival of Ainslie, Iain Percy, will be taking the satisfaction of a fourth place here to the Finn European championship in Ostend in 10 days. He is still working towards a fitness peak which has been delayed by the wrist he broke six weeks ago.

With rather longer to prepare are Ian Walker and Mark Covell in the Star, who are starting to gel, having each lost their partners in fatal accidents in the past 18 months. Their eighth in the Netherlands shows the potential they have to win a place at Sydney.

Tony de Mulder, with Tony Wetherall at the helm of his Dubois 37 Victric, has got three wins in three starts at a Tarbert Scottish Series which has attracted 216 boats. Having won Cowes Week last year, he has following up with a polished performance on Loch Fyne.

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