Four Australians line up in European Laser

Racing gets underway today at the 2009 Laser European Championship with four Australians set to hit the water in Landskrona, Sweden.

Two time Laser World Champion and 2008 Beijing Olympic Games representative Tom Slingsby will be leading the Australian charge in Sweden and aiming to win his third European Championship in a row, having won the title in 2008 in Belgium and in France in 2007.

Slingsby has spent much of 2009 training in Europe and has performed well in his last two regattas, a victory at the Expert Olympic Garda regatta in Italy and a 13th at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Holland, and sees the European Championships as an important lead up to the Laser Worlds which take place in Canada later this month.

Joining Slingsby in Sweden are fellow Australians Tom Burton, James Burman and Ryan Hannan, along with coach Michael Blackburn.

Burton has had a busy couple of months, joining Slingsby in Holland before competing at Kiel Week and the Laser Europa Cup, both of which were held in Germany.

Hannan also competed at Kiel Week while the 2009 Laser European Championship will be Burman's first European regatta for 2009 after competing in a number of European regattas in 2008.

The four Australian sailors join a high quality fleet of 129 athletes from 33 countries, including current world number one and Beijing Olympic Games Gold medalist Paul Goodison.

Racing begins in Sweden on Monday, 3 August and runs through until Saturday, 8 August.

– Craig Heydon

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