CLEARWATER - Competition at the first of two scheduled pre-Olympic regattas finished in Qingdao, China, with the top 10 athletes in each class sailing the final medal race, which counted for double points.
Three athletes from Clearwater Yacht Club had been selected by US Sailing to compete in this regatta. Paige Railey took the gold medal in Laser Radials, Brad Funk finished 23rd in Lasers and Zach Railey 6th in the Finn class. All three of these sailors are campaigning hard for the opportunity to represent the USA at the Beijing Games in 2008 and each finished as the top USA athlete in their class.
Paige's gold medal was won with a very convincing 17-point lead over Jo Aleh of New Zealand. Penny Clark of Great Britain was just two points behind Jo for the bronze medal.
This regatta was a test event designed to be as close as possible to the 20 Beijing Games Olympic regatta. Each qualified country was permitted two entries for each class of boat, whereas at the Olympics only one entry per country is permitted. The Chinese government has done an amazing job of transforming a derelict dock area of Qingdao into the site of the 2008 Olympic regatta and this event served as its first test.
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