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Spain wins Tornado, Britain take Star in sailing

Spain wins Tornado, Britain take Star in sailing

Britain closed out Olympic sailing racing Thursday by taking its fourth sailing gold of the Beijing Games, with Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson winning the Star keelboat class.
The British pair were followed by the Brazilian team of Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada and Sweden's Fredrik Loof and Anders Ekstrom.
The scoreboard listed the Brazlians as silver winners and the Swedes as bronze, but those results were not immediately confirmed because a jury was checking video footage to confirm the Swede's placing in the final.
In the fast Tornado class catamarans, Spain's Fernando Echavarri and Anton Paz took gold, ahead of silver medalists Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby of Australia. Santiago Lange and Carlos Espinola of Argentina took the bronze in tough conditions, with strong winds, choppy waves and rain. Out of 10 boats that started, the German catamaran capsized and the Greek boat failed to finish.
"The conditions were really difficult today, and we quite nervous," said Echavarri. "After 10 years of training, we finally got out first Olympic medal. We feel like we're the luckiest ones here."
At the end of the Olympic sailing competition, Britain had the most medals, with four gold, one silver and a bronze. Australia was No. 2, with two gold and one silver, followed by Spain and the United States, each with one gold and one silver.
In the venerable Star class, designed in 1911 and the oldest design still used at the Olympics, Swedes Loof, a Finn class Olympic bronze winner in 2000, and Ekstrom had a two point lead over the Brits after 10 preliminary races. The Swedes were also 14 points ahead of the Brazilians going into Thursday's medal race, which counts double.
However, Sweden fell off the pace after two legs, and trailed the 10-boat fleet.
According to unofficial results, Sweden was no 10, giving it bronze. But if the jury finds that Sweden finished ninth it would take silver, ahead of Brazil. A ruling was expected Thursday.
American John Dane III, the oldest sailor at the games, and his son-in-law Austin Sperry just missed the 10-boat cut-off for the Star medal races, finishing 11th after the 10 preliminary races.
In the Tornados, which are expected to be phased out after these Olympics, Echavarri and Paz were three points ahead of the Australians after 10 races before the medal race that counts double. They managed to stay ahead of Bundock and Ashby and snap up the gold with a fourth place in the final. The Australians came back from No. 9 in the 10-boat medal race fleet to finish fifth.
Britain's Leigh Mcmillan and Will Howden led most of the way through the wind chop and rain to win Thursday's medal race and take sixth place overall. Canada's Oskar Johansson and Kevin Stittle were second for an overall fourth place.
"Racing here is really tough," said Bundock, who also took Tornado silver at home in Australian in 2000. "We are here for gold but missed it because we stuffed it up at the start." They also broke a swivel on their mast, making it tough to get the most out of the boat.
With his bronze, Argentina's Espinola picked up his fourth Olympic medal, including the Tornado bronze in Athens in 2004. He also has silver medals on Mistral windsurfers from 1996 and 2000.


Updated : 2021-04-12 02:30 GMT+08:00