Australian Crews Gear Up for 2012 Olympics
2012 London Summer Olympics
Malcolm Page, considered the most successful 470 sailor ever and likely the most successful Australian sailor, will be leading the Australian Sailing Team assault at the 2012 470 World Championship beginning Sunday.
It is one of three World Championships that the Australian crews will compete in building up for the 2012 London Olympics.
Page, who will partner with Mathew Belcher, will vie for his third straight world title, and a sixth World Championship victory overall.
The Page-Belcher tandem, which vaulted atop the class in 2009, has landed the 2010 World Championship in the Netherlands and the 2011 title in Perth.
Other Australian crews in the 470 men's fleet include Australian Sailing Squad members Sam Kivell and Will Ryan, and Matthew and Robert Crawford.
Australian sailors Scott Cotton and Rob Size, Matt and Ben Taylor, and Alexander and Patrick Conway will also compete in Barcelona.
With the Belcher-Page crew on the helm, the Australian contingent is expected to dominate this event featuring almost 100 470 Men teams from 40 nations, but they will be facing a tough challenge in the scheduled 11 race series.
Among those expected to contend at the top of the leaderboard are Great Britain's Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell and the Croatian crew of Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic.
Patience and Bithell, who hold a world No. 9 ranking, snagged the silver medal at the 2011 and '09 Worlds. They also took home the bronze at the 2011 Open Europeans.
World No. 3 Fantela and Marenic took the bronze at the 2011 Worlds and the silver medal at the '11 Open Europeans. The Croatian crew placed 9th at the 2008 Olympics.
Other notable crews in the 470 Men's race are: USA's Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl, Israel's Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela, Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis of Greece and the Netherlands' Sven Koster and Kalle Koster.
The Olympic gold medallist pair of Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell will represent Australia in the 470 women.
Also Sunday, four Australians will compete at the 2012 Finn Gold Cup, which will kick off in Falmouth, England.
Brendan Casey, who is coming off a win at the ISAF Sailing World Cup round in France last month, will be joined by Australian Sailing Squad member Oliver Tweddell and compatriots Rob McMillan and Dirk Seret.
The third Olympic class World Championship slated for this month is the Laser Radial class.
It will kickoff in Boltenhagen, Germany, on May 15.
Krystal Weir will be contending for her second Olympic trip after having represented Australia in the three-person Yngling class at the 2008 Games.
Weir, a member of Australian Sailing Team, will be racing in the Laser Radial alongside fellow Australians Alexandra South and Caitlin Elks.
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