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Aussie sailors notch a double.

AUSTRALIA were yesterday crowned champions of the Grade Two event to claim a fantastic double in the Kingdom Match Racing Championship, which came to an exciting finish at the Bahrain Maritime Sports Association (BMSA) premises along Al Jazayer Beach in Zallaq.

The Australians, who claimed the Grade Three title earlier this week, lived up to their top billing beating top seed Oli-Pekka Lumijarvi and his Finnish crew of Mohr Sten Peter, Mikkel Roessberg and Jonas Frank 2-0 in action-packed best-of-three finals.

They collect the champions' trophy and cash prize of $3,000.

Gilmour and his team of Christopher Smith, Ming Wong and Negri Adam showed excellent sailing skills and stamina in their purpose-built J24 boats against their opponents to clinch a well-earned victory amidst relatively average winds of 14 knots.

Booked

Early on, the top four teams from the round-robin booked their berths in the semi-final stage, which featured best-of-three match races.

Lumijarvi, who received a runners-up prize of $2,000, earlier took first place at the end of the round-robin. He completed the competition's opening phase with 10 points out of a possible 11, booking a berth in the semi-finals as the top seed.

Qualifying in second place was Australia with eight points, while Russia One came third with seven points. Taking the final spot in the final four was Russia Two, also with seven points.

The Finns took on fourth-placed Russia Two, comprising skipper Vladimir Lipavsky, Konstantin Besputin, Denis Shapovalov, Aleksandr, Patrushev and Egor Larionov.

The Russians put on a brave show, but again Lumijarvi showed his overall strength and speed to overcome his challenger 2-1 and move on to the final.

In the other semi-final match, round robin second-placed Gilmour posted a 2-0 win over third-ranked Russia One skipper Sergey Musikhin and his teammates Luzin Kirill, Denis Tiurikov and Maksim Ermolov to set up the final clash.

BMSA president Shaikh Khalifa bin Abdulla Al Khalifa honoured the winners in the presence of other high-ranking delegates and sponsor's representatives.

Bahrain Jewellery Centre general manager Abul Qassim Al Shirazi presented a giant watch to Shaikh Khalifa for successfully organising the 11th edition of this international event.

Speaking after the awarding ceremony, Shaikh Khalifa said he was delighted with the overall performance of the teams in both championships and the outstanding organisation.

He thanked all the delegates for coming to Bahrain this year to take part in these events.

Shaikh Khalifa congratulated Australia and Finland on winning their respective championships, while he wished other teams better luck in future competitions.

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Publication:Gulf Daily News (Manama, Bahrain)
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Dec 22, 2013
Words:435
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