by Lindsey Bell
Bryony Shaw has won Great Britain’s first ever women’s windsurfing medal clinching RS:X bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in Qingdao today.
Shaw, who won the 2007 Olympic Test Event, knew a top three finish in the double points medal race would guarantee her a medal at her first ever Olympic Games, going into the race in bronze medal position eight points behind leader Jian Yin (CHN) and five behind Alessandra Sensini (ITA) in second.
The Brit showed her intent from the off, flying off the start line at the second time of asking following a general recall, reaching the top mark in second and nudging into first place at the bottom mark.
But after World Champion Sensini had taken over at the front of the fleet heading down to the slalom finish, Shaw dug in and stayed comfortably ahead of nearest challengers Jessica Crisp (AUS) and Marina Alabau (ESP) to finish the race second and take the bronze.
Yin finished the race in third place to claim gold with 39 points, Sensini taking silver with 40 and Shaw winning bronze with 45.
Speaking immediately after the race an overcome Shaw said: 'I’m just so, so happy, it was such a tough race and has been such a tough week and I’m just so happy, it’s the best thing in the World.
'I just went out to sail as fast as I could and well done to the Chinese and Italian girls, that was really, really tough racing right until the end.
'I love my mum and dad so much, they have been so supportive and my boyfriend Greg. And my coach Dom (Tidey) is a legend!'
Shaw’s is Britain’s fifth sailing medal of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games with Ben Ainslie (Finn) and Yngling trio Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson winning gold on Sunday, Paul Goodison taking the top Laser prize yesterday (Tuesday) and Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield clinching 470 men’s silver on Monday.
RS:X Women - Final positions after Medal race
1 CHN Jian Yin 6 52 39pts
2 ITA Alessandra Sensini 2 68 40pts
3 GBR Bryony Shaw 4 73 45pts
4 ESP Marina Alabau 8 65 54
5 AUS Jessica Crisp 20 80 66
6 NZL Barbara Kendall 12 96 75
7 POL Zofia Klepacka 16 99 82
8 UKR Olga Maslivets 10 97 83
9 HKG Wai Kei Chan 18 107 93
10 ISR Maayan Davidovich 14 131 111