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by Ian Grant. on 30 Sep 2000
Rachel Nahum
Italian Luca Devoti turned the narrow margin of 11 seconds into a Silver Medal in the Finn Class competition decided on a windy Sydney Harbour this afternoon

Devoti who sailed brilliantly to win heat 10 and enter the final with a Silver Medal winning chance appeared to be out of contention on the initial windward when all the helmsmen had to dig deep on energy reserves to hike hard and counter the freshening sea breeze.

His Silver Medal rivals Fredrik Loof (Sweden) and Xavier Rohart (France) held 1st and 7th place with Devoti 10th to be the minor medallists when sails were eased for the wave riding down wind run.

As the race progressed and the going got tough, the tough got going, with the tenacious Italian who tips the scales at 103 kgs revelling in the stronger winds to begin what proved to be a remarkable fight back.

He simply never let up hiking for longer periods to gradually improve his placing at each of the remaining marks of the course.

It was a long and physically enduring tussle backed with his own confidence to sail smart between the required short rests he took to gain a more comfortable hiking position and lock out the pain.

Midway through the course Devoti had made his charge and settled into the task by engaging Loof in a nip-n-tuck duel of sailing boat on boat for the Silver Medal with the Italian claiming a deserved reward for his never say die spirit.

Both skippers never gave up hope and they sailed to the finish with the Italian holding the crucial upper hand to cross 11 seconds ahead in sixth place after a physically demanding 1 hour 20 minute race won by the defending Olympic Gold Medallist Mateusz Kusznierewicz of Poland.

This result allowed Devoti to win the Silver medal by 1 point with Loof forced to accept the Bronze 1 point ahead of Kusznierewicz.

RESULTS (Official) : GOLD Iain Percy (GBR) 35pts 1, SILVER Luca Devoti 46pts 2, BRONZE Fredik Loof (SWE) 47pts 3, POL 48pts 4, FRA 55pts 5, USA 64pts 6, BEL 65pts 7, TUR 66pts 8, IRL 69pts 9, CRO 69pts 10.

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