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Sailing rivalry spills into pub row
Paul Mulvey
12:15 AEST Sat Jul 21 2012

Gold medal favourite Tom Slingsby is vowing to steer clear of Britain's defending Olympic champion Paul Goodison after the former friends took their sailing rivalry off the water into a heated pub argument at a pre-Games regatta.

Goodison confronted the Australian in the Lazy Lizard in Weymouth after Slingsby won yet another regatta in the Laser class on the Olympic course on England's south coast last month, accusing him of helping teammate Tom Burton block him.

The row intensified their already fierce rivalry, but five-time world Laser champion Slingsby says he won't continue the clash on the waters off Weymouth when the six-day Olympic regatta starts on July 30.

"We always gun for each other a bit and nothing will change here, but hopefully the best guy wins," Slingsby said in London on Friday.

"I just want to go out and hopefully have nothing to do with Paul and sail my own races and hopefully he doesn't go for me either because I think it would be a shame if someone won other than us.

"I'm just going to concentrate on myself. He's just another boat on the water to me and another competitor and I'm not going to focus on him at all and I hope he does the same with me."

A furious Goodison took the matter to the pub, claiming Slingsby helped Burton pull off a covering manoeuvre in the last race of the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta which cost the Brit a place on the podium, while the Australian took the silver.

"He wasn't too happy with me sailing the way I was in the last race. He thought I was trying to get an Australian on the podium," Slingsby said.

"It wasn't that at all, he made the mistake himself without me being involved and lost two positions and he thought I had something to do with it.

"So he came and confronted me and I confronted him about a few things. We used to be good mates, we don't really get along too good any more.

"I was just upset about a few things he said in the media, I gave him my point of view and he gave his point of view."

Although Slingsby has dominated the Laser class since Goodison won the gold in Beijing, he's still cautious of the Brit.

"The last couple of years he hasn't been as good as he has been, but we all know how good he is at peaking for the big events," Slingsby said.

"I'm sure he'll be coming into the mix on the last day."

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