Four more golds on a busy day in Guanabara Bay
In a packed programme of medal races at the Marina da Gloria, on Rio’s Guanabara Bay, the Netherlands' Marit Bouwmeester won gold in the women's Laser Radial, as Tom Burton of Australia won the men’s Laser; the Nacra 17 title went to Argentinian pair Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli, while Giles Scott took gold in the Finn class.
Dutchwoman Marit Bouwmeester won an exciting and closely contested medal race in the women’s Laser Radial class, that saw Ireland's Annalise Murphy slip past Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindom to take silver, leaving the Dane to pick up the bronze.
“I don't think there is such thing as a flying Dutchwoman, but I'm very proud to represent Holland, it's a great sports nation,” said Bouwmeester. “I think it's been a long time since Dutch sailing won a gold medal, so I'm very proud of it.
Irishwoman Murphy, who narrowly missed out on the podium at London 2012, said she was thrilled to be able to put that disappointment behind her. "It's incredible, I was pretty heartbroken after London, I had been in medal position all week. So this week, to be in medal position again, it's been incredible.”
Men’s laser gold goes for a Burton
Australia's Tom Burton used a tense pre-start battle to snatch the gold medal from Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic in the men’s Laser, after the latter had topped the leaderboard throughout the 10 previous tests.
Both went into the medal race sure of a top-two finish, only the order was unclear. Stipanovic, forced by Burton into an illegal bump with the Australian boat, had to take a penalty turn and finished ninth, which meant he finished up with silver rather than gold.
Bronze went to New Zealand's Sam Meech, who managed a third in the medal race, which was just enough to end local favourite Robert Scheidt's hopes of a record sixth sailing medal in six Olympic games. Incredibly, it was the first time he had missed out on the podium since Atlanta 1996.
Scheidt, 43 and Brazil's greatest Olympian, produced arguably one of the best races of his life to win the medal race, but that was not enough to slip past Meech in the overall points total.
Reflecting on his victory, Burton said: “It was the venue that definitely benefits an all-round sailor… Consistency was key.”
Silver medallist Stipanovic said the disappointment of missing out on gold, was less than the pride in winning Croatia’s first ever sailing medal. “The feeling of losing on the last day is not nice,” he admitted. “But I'm really happy with my medal. It's the first medal in sailing in history of Croatian sport which is really key and I knew a few days ago already that I did a good job.”|
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Argentina’s Lange ends long wait in Nacra catamaran
Argentine helmsman Santiago Lange and crew Cecilia Carranza Saroli won gold in the Nacra 17 mixed catamaran class after a fast medal race in windy conditions on Guanabara Bay's Pao de Acucar course. Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin of Australia, came within a single point of gold, but their second-place finish was not enough to close the overall points gap built up by the Argentinians in the 12 preliminary races before the medal round.
The Australians won a tie-break with Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank of Austria, who finished the regatta with the same points total of 78, but took bronze due to finishing third, behind Waterhouse and Darmanin, in the medal race.
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54-year old Lange was delighted with what he claimed was a surprise and long-awaited victory. “We didn't expect it. At the end it was a very tough race, it was unbelievable,” he exclaimed. “I was rooting for a gold medal since the 1980s, so I've spent a lot of time working for this.”
Darmanin, who helped catapult Australia from fourth to second during the medal race, said: “It was a little bittersweet, not going to lie. We wanted that gold but we sailed an incredible medal race and I don't think we could have done much more out there, and to come home a silver medallist is great.”
Great Scott wins Finn gold
Great Britain's Giles Scott secured the Finn gold, having already guaranteed himself the title on points going into the medal race. In doing so he extended a British winning streak started by Iain Percy in 2000 and continued by the great Ben Ainslie at the following three Games.
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In a tough battle for the other podium spots in near-perfect wind conditions, Slovenia's Vasilij Zbogar was able to use a medal-race eighth to ensure silver. Caleb Paine of the USA pulled off one of his best races of this Olympic regatta to come in second, allowing him to jump from fourth overall and onto the podium with bronze.
Scott, who described himself as feeling “over the moon”, as able to put in a relaxed display in th medal race, knowing the gold was already his. “It means a great deal. I've been trying to get to the Olympic Games for at least two cycles so to qualify for Rio firstly was a huge deal for me.”
Silver medallist Zbogar, who made the switch to Finn class after winning two medals in Laser, was delighted to add to his haul. “I'm very happy that everything is finished in a good way with second place, which for me is a dream. I'm extremely proud and happy to be able to sail very consistent all week, to get a medal."
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