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Trash talk ahead of Ashes sailing showdown
Miles Godfrey
01:47 AEST Wed Aug 8 2012

The trash talking has begun.

Australia faces a do-or-die duel with fierce rivals Great Britain to decide the 470 dinghy gold medal at the Olympic regatta.

World champions Malcolm Page and Mat Belcher won both of Tuesday's races - double bullets in sailing parlance - to take a slim four-point lead into Thursday's 10-boat medal race.

Snapping at their heels are Great Britain's Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, who are second overall and need to finish two boats ahead of the Australians during the showpiece final to snatch the gold.

Both crews are assured of at least a silver medal.

Patience said they would be trying "rip the heads off" the Aussies during the final race, while Bithell said all the pressure was on Page and Belcher.

"We've got nothing to loose, we're the underdogs and they were the absolute favourites coming in," Bithell added.

"We're closer than we've ever been to them, so if I had to say who had the most pressure I'd say definitely them."

Page disagreed and said it was the Brits who were under pressure on home waters.

"I'm sure they would prefer a four-point lead, doesn't that give us the advantage?" he said.

"They've got the home crowd that they've got to please."

Belcher added: "You say whatever you've got to say.

"The psychology involving a medal race ... it's a high pressure situation - you're fighting for a gold medal.

"They're going to be saying what's good for them and we're going to be saying what's good for us.

"At the end of the day it's who beats who and we're looking forward to the challenge."

Thursday's final, to be held in front of thousands of spectators in Weymouth Bay, should be a very tense occasion.

The irony is the two crews are great mates off the water and they were laughing and joking with each just before speaking to journalists.

"Just because you try and rip each others' heads off on the water doesn't mean you're not friends on the shore," Patience added.

Meanwhile, Australian women's 470 crew Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell are ninth overall with just two races left to try and qualify for Friday's medal race, featuring the top 10 boats.

The women's match racing crew, skippered by Olivia Price began their best of five quarter-final showdown with the Dutch on Tuesday.

Both crews won one race each and race again on Wednesday to decide who advances to the semi-final.

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