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Denmark wins 49er gold in eventful final

Updated: 2008-08-18 15:12:06
Denmark wins 49er gold in eventful final
Jonas Warrer (L) and Martin Kirketerp Ibsen of Denmark take to the sea. (Photo credit: Clive Mason/Getty Images)

(QINGDAO, August 18) -- Jonas Warrer and Martin Ibsen of Denmark were declared gold medal winners after a day of drama in 49er (Skiff) Sailing on Monday, August 18.

Athens 2004 Olympic gold medalists Iker Martinez de Lizarduy and Xabier Fernandez of Spain took silver and German brothers Jan Peter and Hannes Peckolt won bronze.

The Danes crossed the finish line in seventh place in the double points medal race, enough for them to claim gold, and then had to survive a protest lodged by the Race Committee against them using another competitor's boat.

Warrer Ibsen broke their mast as they jockeyed in the start area and raced back to shore to borrow the Croatian (Pavle Kostov and Peter Cupac) boat. They made it back to the start with seconds to spare and later explained the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) had given them permission to use the Croatians' boat.

The 49er sailors faced high, choppy seas with 18-knot winds in pouring rain which forced a spate of boats to capsize.

Six crews were in contention for gold although the Danes were in the box seat, 11 points clear of their nearest rivals Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello of Italy, with a further three-point gap over 2008 world champions Nathan Outteridge and Ben Austin of Australia.

Martinez de Lizarduy and Fernandez and German brothers Jan Peter and Hannes Peckolt were a further point away with Tim Wadlow and Chris Rast of the United States five points behind them.

Nico Delle Karth and Nikolaus Resch of Austria were the early leaders but broke their mast in the final stages and did not finish.

A series of potential medal winners capsized within sight of victory and Outteridge and Austin can count themselves particularly unlucky after they capsized a second time 150 meters from the finish line.

Back afloat and seeing the devastation in front of them, the experienced Martinez and Fernandez dropped their spinnaker and conservatively sailed under main and headsail to take out the race and claim silver.

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