Spain wins Tornado, Britain takes Star in sailing

Britain closed out Olympic sailing Thursday with gold in the Star keelboat class for Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, its fourth sailing gold of the Beijing Games. The Brazilian team of Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada took silver and Sweden's Fredrik Loof and Anders Ekstrom took bronze.
In the fast Tornado class catamarans, Fernando Echavarri and Anton Paz of Spain took gold, ahead of silver medalists Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby of Australia, with Santiago Lange and Carlos Espinola of Argentina taking bronze.
Conditions were tough for the Tornados, with strong winds, choppy waves and rain. The German catamaran capsized and the Greek boat failed to finish,
"The conditions were really difficult today, and we were quite nervous," said Echavarri. "After 10 years of training, we finally got our first Olympic medal. We feel like we're the luckiest ones here."
At the close of the Olympic sailing competition, Britain has four golds, one silver and a bronze. Australia finished with two golds and one silver, followed by Spain and the United States, each with one gold and one silver.
In the Star class, designed in 1911 and the oldest design still sailed at the Olympics, Swedes Loof and Ekstrom had a two-point lead over the Britons and 14 points over the Brazilians going into Thursday's medal race, which counts double.
However, the pair fell off the pace after two legs and finished last, letting the Britons in. Sweden and Brazil ended tied on 53 points, but the silver went to the Brazilians because of their higher placing in the final race.
Brazilian Scheidt, who won Olympic gold in the Laser dinghy class in 1996 and 2004 and silver in 2000, joked that his silver medal matches the one his girlfriend Gintare Volungeviciute won for Lithuania in the Laser Radial class on Tuesday.
"It is somewhat romantic. Silver to silver. It matches," he said.
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, and fourth place was enough for the gold. The Australians finished fifth.
"Racing here is really tough," said Bundock, also a silver medalist 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.
The bronze was a fourth Olympic medal for Espinola of Argentina.
Leigh McMillan and Will Howden of Britain led most of the way through the wind and rain to win Thursday's medal race and take sixth place overall.

Updated : 2021-01-28 11:31 GMT+08:00