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Rio 2016 : GBR wins 470 Women’s gold, New Zealand silver, France bronze in tight Medal Race

jeudi 18 août 2016Information World Sailing

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With Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) having already won the Women’s 470 gold medal, the battle for silver and bronze came down to a six-way fight between New Zealand, USA, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Slovenia. Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) took up the early running and led for the first lap, putting them in silver medal position ahead of the 2012 Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL).

The shifting wind produced some new race leaders on the final lap, with Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) streaking away to win the Medal Race. Meanwhile the battleground for the medals was changing by the moment. The Americans were given a penalty turn for fouling the Japanese crew which put them to the back and out of the medals. This left the way clear for New Zealand to take a jubilant silver medal with reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA) making a late charge from the back of the fleet to finish sixth, sufficient to give France the bronze by a single point from the Netherlands crew, Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED). It was tears of joy for the three Medal winning crews but the Americans were distraught after having controlled the race early on, only to come away with nothing.

Croatia wins first ever sailing gold in Men’s 470, Australia silver, Greece bronze

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have won Croatia’s first ever gold medal in Olympic sailing. The Croatians sailed a controlled race, making sure they stayed ahead of their rivals Australia and Greece. However Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) were much concerned about protecting the silver medal and engaged Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) in a match race before the start.

With the race underway, the Swiss team streaked off into the lead, but the three medal contenders were much more interested in covering each other’s moves at the back of the fleet. With the Aussies and Greeks caught up in their own duel, Croatia’s job of defending gold became straightforward.

Meanwhile, Belcher mostly had the best of Mantis until the top of the final windward leg when Ryan lost his footing and briefly fell overboard. The Greeks seized the moment and moved into the lead, but the Australians attacked again on the final run to the finish. They pressured the Greek boat into making a small mistake on a gybe, and the 2012 Olympic Champion steered the Aussie boat for the finish, crossing the line just six seconds before their rivals to secure silver for Australia. Despite missing out to the Australians, the Greek crew was still very happy with bronze after a tough series at Rio 2016.

Fantela and Marenic’s victory crowns a stunning week for Croatia, the 470 Men’s gold going alongside Tonci Stipanovic’s Laser Men’s silver just two days ago. Croatia had never won an Olympic medal in sailing, now it has two.

By Andy Rice - World Sailing


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