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1997 Malaysia Challenge
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Kostecki Defeats World Best, Takes Early Lead

LANGKAWI, Malaysia (Dec. 3, 1997) — AmericaOne tactician John Kostecki went undefeated in the first round of the Malaysia Challenge 1997 International Sailing Grand Prix to become the first qualifier for the semi-final round on Saturday.

Undaunted by the prospect of facing the world's top-ranked match-racing skippers, Kostecki downed No. 1-ranked Peter Gilmour of Japan, as well as No. 2-ranked Ed Baird of the United States. Kostecki also dispatched Jesper Bank of Denmark and Jochem Schumann of Germany.

In the second round, Kostecki finished second to Baird, skipper of the Young America America's Cup challenge. However, he scored a second victory over Gilmour, skipper of Team Nippon, as well as defeating No. 3-ranked Bertrand Pacé of France.

Kostecki and Baird are now tied for first place overall with seven points apiece. A total of 12 skippers are competing in the five-day regatta.

Elimination rounds three and four are scheduled for Thursday and Friday. The winners of each round automatically advance to the best-of-three semi-final round. If one or more skippers have multiple victories, the next highest points getters advance.

Current standings:

1. (tie) John Kostecki, USA     7 pts.
    Ed Baird, USA               7 pts.
3. (tie) Bertrand Pacé, France  2 pts.
    Peter Gilmour, Japan        2 pts.

For complete results, visit the Malaysia Challenge Web site.


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