SCOOP Olympic Update, Thursday 20 September, 2000

Published: Thu 21 Sep 2000 01:08 AM
SCOOP Olympic Update, Thursday 20 September, 2000
Article: Mathew Loh
AFTER yesterday's tragic withdrawal of eventing thoroughbred Ready Teddy New Zealanders were rocked again Wednesday when star sprinter Chris Donaldson pulled out of the blue ribind 100 metres.
Citing a sore achilles, Donaldson masked his disappointment by remaining confident and upbeat about his chances in his favoured event - the 200 metres. However the failure to have a Kiwi competing in the traditional glamour event of the track is just another blow to what has been a woeful Olympics for New Zealand.
New Zealand spirits were lifted again, however, by brave performances from Mark Todd and Blyth Tait in the dressage section of the individual three day eventing.
After suffering what can only be described as a 'hellish' campaign Todd and Tait revealed immense character and professionalism to put their problems behind them to end the dressage in fourth and seventh place respectively.
An elated Todd described his mount's performance as fantastic claiming: "He (Eye Spy Two) just let out a big sigh...totally relaxed and was just fantastic,".
On the water New Zealand again performed with typical aplomb with our sailors doing themselves justice with a series of consistent performances.
Board-sailing queen Barbara Kendall won her first race of the regatta and lies in an encouraging third place after six races. Chasing a powerful German opponent Kendall, along with rowing champ Rob Waddell, remains NZ's best hope for gold.
In the men's board-sailing Aaron McIntosh improved Wednesday to take a third placing and is in fourth place after six races.
History was made in the women's Europe class when Kiwi Sarah Macky won a race on her first ever day of Olympic competition and with an earlier 5th is 12th after two races. In the men's 470 Simon Cooke and Peter Nicholas are 11th after two while women's 470 crew Melinda Henshaw and Jenny Egnot are 9th.
Daniel Slater and Nathan Handley in the exciting 49er class are 13th overall while Peter Fox is 16th in his Laser.
But along with Kendall it appears New Zealand's best hopes for glory on the water lie with Soling sailors Alan Smith, Don Cowie and Rod Davis. The experienced trio are only two points behind leaders Norway and will be pushing hard for gold.
Meanwhile New Zealand women continued to impress with our White Sox softballer recovering from a hammering from China on Tuesday to comeback on day five to beat Cuba 6-2.
However despite the joy of win keeping NZ's medal hopes alive it was worrying to see NZ again depend on living legend Gina Weber to earn them victory.
Big G was rested early - after pitching the most innings of anyone at the tournament - but with NZ struggling at 2-2 Weber was forced to return to save the game. And save the game she did by tying down the Cuban batters - who failed to hit her once - and by hitting the go-ahead third run to inspire her Kiwi batters to greater things.
The other New Zealand women's team to feature was the hockey team who put in another excellent effort before letting in a shattering last minute goal which unfortunately saw them suffer a 3-4 loss to the Netherlands
Other New Zealander's to feature on day five included Li Chunli who was eliminated from the table-tennis by Chinese world champ Wang Nan and shooter Des Coe who finished a disappointing 25th in the double trap shooting.

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