Gidi Kliger and Eran Sela took fourth place in the mens 470 class in Mallorca on Saturday - protecting their silver medal in the overall standings.

Kliger and Sela set out for the medals race on Saturday in second place and knew they would take home a medal. During the race they opened up a formidable lead over the main competitor for a silver medal, the French pair Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos, finishing in fourth place in this race.

It was enough to protect their second place position in the overall standings. They finished the competition with 57 points - 18 more than Australian competitors Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page.

In January, Kliger and Sela set out for Miami, for the first round of the current World Sailing Championships, and finished eighth in the 470 class. "We competed without our boat," Kliger explained. "We rented a boat, and it was like a training exercise. So it didn't count." The second competition, in Palme de Mallorca, was another story.

"We are very pleased," said Kliger. "All the competitions this year are important, but today's had special import, because this competition is like the Olympics, and we wanted to see where we stand. We started the medals race with a medal guaranteed, and we finished with a big lead over our competitors, and that's a great sign."

Eyal Levin, Kliger and Sela's manager, said: "All the best sailing crews took part in this competition. The first day went a little less well, but as the days went by, things looked up. This achievement will give Gidi and Eran a lot of confidence for the future."

Vered Buskila and Gil Cohen came in sixth place in the women's competition. They finished sixth in the medals race.

Buskila and Cohen, and Kliger and Sela, were set to fly late last night for another competition in France.