SSL Gold Cup QS Round 5: Malaysia and Thailand out in front

SSL Gold Cup QS Round 5: Malaysia and Thailand out in front

SSL Gold Cup QS Round 5: Malaysia and Thailand out in front

Sport

14/07/2022 - 19:19
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QS5 GROUP 7 - DAY 1: MALAYSIA TOP TIGHT GROUP

Race 1: South Africa strike first

SSL Team South Africa recovered from a bad start to open their campaign with an impressive victory. Fighting hard all the way, SSL Team Malaysia had to settle for 2nd place, with SSL Team India crossing the line in 3rd.

The Indian Tigers, racing for the first time at Lake Neuchatel, led early on but a decision to take the right hand side of the course in the downwind Leg 2 cost them, leaving SSL Team South Africa and SSL Team Malaysia to battle it out for the win.

'The Monsoon' of Malaysia raced aggressively throughout, controlling the South Africans and forcing them to take a wide line around the final mark. But Ian Ainslie's team seemed to have an edge sailing upwind, and took full advantage on the final approach to secure maximum points.

Race 2: Malaysian Monsoon storm to victory

SSL Team Malaysia end the day in style with victory in Race 2. In a tight finish to a tight race, SSL Team India deny SSL South Africa on the line to secure 2nd place.

The lead changed hands several times in a frenetic opening, but the Malaysian Monsoon always seemed to have a slight edge. A penalty for rocking for Ian Ainslie's 'Ubuntu' at the halfway point looked to spell disaster but somehow they kept in touch.

With only 16" separating the fleet with the finish line approaching, Malaysian helm Khairulnizam Mohd Afend kept his composure to steer his team to glory.

Tight at the top

As the opening day draws to a close, SSL Team Malaysia sit top of the table but in truth there is little to separate the three teams. SSL Team South Africa and SSL Team India will no doubt have something to say tomorrow.

QS5 GROUP 8 - DAY 1: CONSISTENCY PAYS OFF FOR 'CHANG THAI'

'Chang Thai' led by Noppakao "Nai" Poonpat were the most consistent finishing 2nd in both races. SSL Team Ukraine and SSL Team Singapore won, respectively, one race each. Tomorrow's races resume at 11.00 CET.

Race 1: Ukraine lay down early marker

SSL Team Ukraine took maximum points, dominating Race 1 from start to finish. SSL Team Thailand fended off a strong challenge from SSL Team South Korea to take 2nd. SSL Team Singapore finished 4th, some way behind the fleet following an early penalty.

The Ukrainian 'Haydamaky', skippered by trimmer Ihor Matvienko, started brightly but initially struggled to shake off the hard-chasing Korean 'Red Fury'.

Matvienko's team eventually sailed clear when Jeemin Ha's team were drawn into a battle with SSL Thailand behind. Despite forcing the Thai crew to gybe twice, the Koreans could not maintain their early momentum, and 'Chang Thai' prevailed to finish 2nd.

The win will be a relief for the Ukrainians after starting the day with a 1 point penalty for a late crew declaration.

Race 2: Singapore 'Guardians' make light of conditions

SSL Team Singapore bounce back with an important win to jumpstart their qualification bid. SSL Team Thailand again takes 2nd, with SSL Ukraine and SSL Team South Korea some distance off the pace in 3rd and 4th place.

Despite another fast start for the Ukrainians, the Singaporean 'Guardians of the Bay' capitalised when both SSL Thailand and the Koreans attacked SSL Team Ukraine early on.

As the afternoon wind began to slow, the distances between the fleet grew and Jovina Choo's Singapore team, the lightest on the water by 140kg, stretched into an unassailable lead.

Thailand on top

The opening day's results leave Noppakao Poonpat's SSL Team Thailand top of the standings, but only just. For the chasing three behind, everything is still to play for and work starts again tomorrow.

THEY SAID:

Xu Yuan Zhen OLY, SSL Team Singapore helm:

"It was an interesting start to our series, with a disastrous first race and amazing second race. Despite an unfortunate penalty incident in the first race, kudos to the team for maintaining their positive mentality to allow us to win the 2nd race!"

Noppakao "Nai" Poonpat, SSL Team Thailand captain:

"We had only few days training because we had a session here already last year. I think we did pretty well as we tried to keep everyone in their positions and work as a team. The wind was very tricky today with many gusts but we managed to catch up until the end on both races."

Igor Matvienko, OLY, SSL Team Ukraine captain:

"We are happy with the day for many reasons. Obviously, we are delighted with the decisive win in the first race. But what's more important to me is that we managed to maintain pressure on our opponents in the second race that was not so successful to us. The guys are focused and eager to compete. Also the day showed how close the racing can be, you go from zero to hero in matter of minutes. We are looking forward racing tomorrow!"

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