GB enjoy sailing success on Olympic waters

GB enjoy sailing success on Olympic waters

21 August 2019 / 12:47
British sailors laid down a marker less than a year out from Tokyo 2020 as they picked up an impressive four medals on the first day of medal racing at the Olympic Games test event.

At the regatta dubbed Ready Steady Tokyo, the Brits certainly proved they are ready for the final phase of Olympic preparation with two silvers and two bronzes.

In the Nacra 17 class, John Gimson and Anna Burnet won silver, with compatriots Ben Saxton and Nikki Boniface joining them on the podium in third.

Rio 2016 Olympian Dylan Fletcher and London 2012 silver medallist Stuart Bithell then came second in the 49er class, while Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey claimed bronze in the 49erFX.

Fletcher and Bithell sat third heading into the 49er medal race but their biggest threat for silver – Poland’s Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski – made an early mistake to drop to the back of the fleet and leave the Brits with a clear run to second.

“We are stoked to win a medal at the test event,” said Fletcher, after they finished behind New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

“Overall we were a little disappointed with how we sailed and on day three we knew it’s not how we usually sail and there is plenty more left.

“But we were happy to finish off the week strong and when the pressure was on, we performed and moved up to silver.”

Stuart Bithell Dylan Fletcher

Dobson and Tidey led the 49erFX by a point heading into the medal race but were ultimately overhauled by Olympic champion Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze of Brazil, as well as Norway’s Helene Naess and Marie Ronningen, and had to settle for third.

Ahead of the final race of the Nacra 17, Gimson and Burnet sat second with Saxton and Boniface fifth overall – with the latter duo jumping up to bronze after a sixth-place finish.

Gimson and Burnet’s ninth place also proved just enough to hang on to second – much to Burnet’s relief.

“I’m just trying to get over the stress of it all,” she said. “It was such a stressful medal race. We had a penalty which didn’t help.

“But when I think about it and it all sinks in I’m sure I’ll be very happy to take a silver medal from the Tokyo 2020 test event.”

Friday’s medal races will see more Brits gunning for the podium as Olympic champions Giles Scott and Hannah Mills are among the sailors currently in contention.