Editorial: Good opening day for US at Paralympics

John Ruf of the USA in the 2.4mR class on Day 1 of the Paralympics in Qingdao
ISAF ©
Welcome to Sail-World.Com's Olympic newsletter for the opening day of the 2008 Paralympic Sailing Regatta.

USA has got off to a good start in the 2008 Paralympics, placing in the top three in two classes and lying fifth overall in the third.

The results of the Paralympics were not dominated by the powerhouses of the 2008 Olympics, Great Britain and Australia, with placing being well shared among the countries competing.

Light winds delayed racing and in the end two races were sailed in all three events.

Best placed US crew are Nick Scandone and Maureen McKinnon-Tucker in the SKUD 18 class. They scored a first and second to have a two point edge over the Chinese crew with Australia third. The points are very close over the first four overall.

Juhani Mattila of Finland in the 2.4mR class on Day 1 of the Paralympics in Qingdao
ISAF ©

In the 2.4mR singlehanded keelboat, John Ruf is third overall after two races with a 2,6 scorecard. Paul Tingey (CAN) stamped his authority on the one-man boat, notching up two wins, with Heiko Kroger (GER) in second overall.

After winning their first race, the US Sonar crew of Rick Doerr, Tim Angle and Bill Donohue finished 10th in the 12 boat fleet to slide down to fifth overall. Racing is very tight in the Sonar fleet with just seven points covering first to eight overall.

To view the full results http://www.sailing.org/24859.php!click_here

In all classes the points table is very tight - usually with the top five being separated by just a a few points, but in the Sonat seven points cover the top eight boats.

We have reports on all three classes in this issue along with some images from the regatta. We are battling for material due to rights constraints and the fact that there are very few accredited media in Qingdao, other than those from local Chinese media.

As a work around we do have team and coach reports which give as good an insight as any to a competition such as this. The laconic style of Denis Kiely is always and interesting perspective on sailing and life in general in China. Brian Todd from Canada has provided a different insight along with some great images.

McRoberts and Louttit (Canada) passing the Paralympic flame in Qingdao
George Layton

As might be expected at the Paralympics there are 78 stories of triumph over adversity just to be able to compete in the event, and we have run some of these, with more to come in other issues.

Because of their degenerative illness this may be the last Paralympics for some, for others they are long time competitors at this level.

According to one analysis, motorcycle accidents seem to have made many competitors 'eligible' for this event.

The Australian SKUD 18 team competing in the Practice race, 2008 Paralympics, Qingdao
George Layton

One thing that is apparent is that the line between disabled and able bodied sailors is becoming increasingly blurred, and many of those sailing at the Paralympics compete very successfully in Open competition. Many certainly did when they were able bodied sailors.

To compile this newsletter under the current rights circumstances, we welcome any submission and images from fans, teams and anyone in Qingdao. Please forward these to nzeditor@sail-world.com

Our thanks to those on the ground and water at Qingdao who have made this issue possible, depending on material available we will be publishing every other day through the Paralympics. Daily reports will be posted on www.sail-world.com


Good Sailing!

Richard Gladwell
Sail-World Olympic Editor