Spithill and Souter to battle for World Match Racing crown in Sweden

Australian skippers Katie Spithill and Nicole Souter are among 12 top match racers who will compete in the ISAF Women's Match Racing World Championship in Lysekil from July 28.

The Women's Match Racing Worlds were first held in Italy in 1999 and have taken place every year since. This year's championship has added interest, as it is the first in the four-year cycle, which will culminate in the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, where Women's Match Racing will feature for the first time on the Olympic programme.

“I don't think there is any competitor in this series that is easy. All of the competitors in this year's World Championships are to be watched, it's a great line up and will be a tough event for everyone,” said Spithill, currently ranked number 2 on the Women's ISAF World Match Race Ranking list.

The reigning World Champion and number one on the ranking list, Claire Leroy of France, will be defending the World Championship title for the second time in a row.

“The level of the 12 contestants is similar, so you can't make any mistakes if you want to win. The Scandinavian teams have some advantages, being more familiar with the Danish DS37 yacht and sailing in their home waters, but it seems that other countries have improved and are able to take the leadership, like Katie Spithill did in Match Cup Sweden a few weeks ago. I imagine, that we will have a lot of surprises at the World Championship and I look forward to exciting racing,” said Leroy.

Swedish helmswoman, Linda Rahm, has in dropped down from second position on the world ranking list to fourth but she is familiar with her home waters. She will defend her two consecutive victories of last year and the previous year's world cup races at Lysekil Women's Match.

Britain's Lucy MacGregor, ranked third in the world, is definitely the top rookie among the invited skippers. MacGregor, who previously was crew on several successful teams, has, as skipper, climbed the ranking list at impressive speed and is now a name to watch out for.

Australian Katie Spithill won the prestigious Match Cup Sweden regatta in Marstrand earlier this month, showing great form with strong, solid sailing in the DS 37, the same boat type to be used at the World Championship in Lysekil. Spithill, was ranked 7 on the Women's ISAF World Match Race Ranking list, and has now climbed to second position.

25-year old Swede Anna Kjellberg has in one year climbed from 23 to 10 on the Women's ISAF World Match Race Ranking list. With stable results this last year Kjellberg has proved that she belongs to the top elite. In the finals against Katie Spithill at Match Cup Sweden, Kjellberg was tough opposition.

Racing starts Tuesday 28 July. The World Champion will be crowned Saturday 1 August.

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