The RS:X windsurfer made its debut at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on Monday and Israeli sailor Shahar ZUBARI won race 1 and got a third in race 2 to take the early series lead in the men's fleet.
Qingdao Olympic Regatta 2008. Men’s RS-X start.
Aged just 21, Shahar Zubari (ISR) is one of the rising stars of the RS:X class and beat Athens windsurfing gold medallist Gal Fridman (ISR) to selection for Israel’s team for Beijing. Whilst he’s a relatively new name at the top of the fleet he demonstrated his ability with a bronze medal finish at the Worlds in New Zealand in January this year.
Spectators were able to watch the RS:X boards up close as they sailed on Course A, which is right in front of the Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center. In light and shifty airs, ZubariI made a strong start and then pulled through the fleet, overtaking China’s Aichen Wang to win race 1. Iahleyace 2 he found himself buried at the start but continued to pick up places through the race, eventually coming in third. King Yin Chan from Hong Kong lies second overall after 5,4 scores with China’s Wang third.
Both Chan and Wang pointed to their starts as key to their success today. Wang beat the experienced Yuanguo Zhou to selection for the Chinese team in Qingdao, and appears to be comfortable in the Olympic arena. 'I followed my coach‘s advice. I also benefited from the Qingdao venue. Since it's my first Olympics, my team leader doesn‘t put any pressure on me, so I feel very relaxed sailing at the Olympics,' he said.
Other strong performances came from reigning World Champion and last year’s Test Event winner Tom Ashley (NZL), Greece’s two-time Olympic medallist Nikolas Kaklamanakis (GRE) and Julien Bontemps of France, who won race 2.
Two races are to be sailed from 13:00 on Tuesday.