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Kontides struggles in run-up to ‘medal race’

Pavlos Kontides competing in the Laser race (Alexia Selene Christodoulou)

SAILING Olympic-medal hopeful Pavlos Kontides returned to poor form on Wednesday, finishing 25th in the day’s first race and sixth in the second at the Rio Olympics, which left him at the tenth spot overall with 47 penalty points in the laser class.

After a terrible start on day 1, the Cypriot sailor won the second day’s first race, climbing several spots to reach number five at the close of day 2, reviving his hopes for a repeat podium presence after his 2012 silver medal in London.

But Wednesday had another poor performance in store, which was partly offset by his coming in sixth in the day’s second race.

Overall, upon completion of six out of ten races before the ‘medal race’, Kontides slipped to 10th place with 53 penalty points.

Croatian Tonci Stipanovic took the lead in overall standings with 26 penalty points, despite not winning either of the day’s races.

The day’s two winners, Brit Nick Thompson who won the first race, and Dutch Rutger van Schaardenburg who won the second, trail Stipanovic with 35 and 37 points, respectively.

The 16-point spread between Kontides and van Schaardenburg – for bronze medal – is not considered forbidding.

Despite the Cypriot sailor’s erratic performance, a host of factors, including the unstable weather and the difficult conditions in Rio, have seen all sailors perform poorly in at least one race so far.

With four races left until the ‘medal race’, it remains up to Kontides to come in at the top spots consistently, so that he can enter the final race on August 15 within range of what will be his second Olympic medal.

Kontides was the first, and so far only, Cypriot Olympic medallist, winning silver at the men’s laser-class sailing event, four years ago in London.

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