Van Gelderen takes the title
AFTER cancellation of the final three races at Roundstone due to calm conditions, Oisin Van Gelderen won the Irish national title at the Heineken Windsurfing Championship for this season yesterday. Shortly after organisers abandoned the remainder of the series, winds on the west coast reached storm force and beyond safe limits for competition.
Sunday's result remains unchanged after 10 races, giving the individual event to Britain's Jason Gilbert, who sailed a near perfect event, pursued only by fellow Neill Pryde Racing Team member Julian da Vall. Ireland's Nick and Tim Ord out performed Van Gelderen who only needed a 20th place or better to secure the national title.
Drogheda based Van Gelderen conceded that he was off his usual form, and put his performance down to a combination of crowded starting lines and bad luck. He has also been concentrating on wave discipline recently with some considerable success.
On the World Pro Cup circuit, at one event he was 32nd out of 64 boards in the fleet racing while in the "Wave Expression" division, he ended third overall. In this year's UK Championship, he ended fifth overall in this discipline that involves jumps and riding heavy surf.
He hopes to attract a major sponsor to enable him to compete as a regular on the international tours that often have prize funds of up to £250,000 available. He currently lives and trains at Bettystown where he can concentrate on jumping techniques.
Meanwhile, in other divisions at the weekend, Joe Meehan won the 23 board men's fleet ahead of Jeff Corcoran from Kinsale and Jarlath McMullen from Kircubbin, while Dubliner Fintan Day had a good margin on points from Waterford's Pearse Geaney in the youth section.
. Britain's number one Tim Henman failed to sustain a promising start and fell at the first hurdle at the $2.5 million Paris tennis Indoor Open yesterday when he was beaten 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 by Spain's Carlos Moya.
Henman, 22 and a Wimbledon quarter finalist, had been hoping to improve his 25th world ranking with some good performances in the French capital this week.
Moya, who is ranked one place higher than Henman, now plays sixth seed Boris Becker for a place in the last sixteen.