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Misery ends for Indian sailing duo

M R Mishra | August 26, 2004 21:16 IST
Last Updated: August 26, 2004 23:01 IST

In an ending which came as no surprise, Indian sailors Malav Shroff and Sumeet Patel finished last in a field of 19 in the 49er Double-handed Dinghy open Olympic Regatta in Athens on Thursday.

Cruising towards the wooden spoon right from the outset, the Indian duo ended their ordeal on the Mediterranean culling 292 gross penalty points in 16 races for a net tally of 253 after discarding two worst performances.

The U.S. based wild card entrants Shroff and Patel, who have been all at sea against much superior opponents, finished 63 net penalty points adrift of their closest rivals Krzysztof Kierkowski and Marcin Czajkowski of Poland in the overall results.

The gold went to pre-race favourites defending world champion Spaniards Iker Martinez and Xavier Fernandez, who accrued a net penalty of 67 points.

Going into the last race with a nine point margin over their nearest competitors George Leonchuk and Rodion Luka of Ukraine, the Spaniards played it safe and finished seventh today to comfortably take the first position.

The Ukrainian pair took the silver accumulating 72 penalty points, while Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks of the U.S. clinched the bronze with 77 net penalty points.

While the Spaniards' victory was very much on the cards, interest was centred around the second spot, with the American team placed only two points behind the Ukrainians after the 15th race on Tuesday.

The Americans were, however, done in by a mediocre sixth place finish in the last race, conceding six more net penalty points as per rules.

The Ukrainians took the third sport, thereby picking up only three penalty points, which was enough for them to take the silverware.

Shroff and Patel, who had a highly forgettable Olympic debut, once again put up a dismal show in today's race after setting out from the Agios Kosmas Sailing centre.

They, however, were lucky to finish the race at the 18th place, as the Grecian team of Athanasios Pachoumas and Vasileios Portosalte were disqualified for sailing on the course side.

The hosts finished two rungs above the Indians in overall placings, as a clear sky bade farewell to the participants of the gruelling race.

The Indians, who have had almost an unbroken chain of last place finishes in the competition, started off the 16th race well, taking the 14th spot around the first mark, before slipping to 17th around the next two marks.

And thereafter, it was the all too familiar tale of blemishes in the next two marks as they ended 18th.

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