by Matt Carter
At the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, there was disappointment for Britain’s Match Race girls as they saw their hopes of London 2012 silverware ended at the quarter-final stage at Weymouth and Portland on Wednesday 8th August.
Macgregor, Lush and Macgregor - Women’s Match Racing - London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition
However, there was a controversial conclusion to their knock-out encounter against Russia after the British boat protested the decision of a photo finish in race four – the second race of today – a decision, which had it gone in their favour, would have seen Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor progress into the semi-finals.
With the scores tied at one-all after the first two races of their best of five quarter-final yesterday, the Brits got day two off to an immaculate start, claiming race three victory with a flawless performance to go 2 - 1 ahead.
After the Russian trio of Ekaterina Skudina, Elena Syuzeva and Elena Oblova had eked ahead of the British boat on the final downwind run of race four, it looked as though Macgregor had pulled off a tactical masterstroke in pushing the Russian boat wide before both boats made a dive for the line. However the photo decision went in the Russians’ favour, levelling the scores at 2-2. After another close-fought battle in the fifth and deciding race it was Russia who got the final edge to hand them the overall 3-2 win.
The British team decided to protest the outcome of race four. But after consideration the race committee ruled that the evidence was insufficient to overturn the original decision, rubber-stamping Russia’s spot in the last four.
Lucy said: 'We sailed well over the last two days and we are pleased with how we picked up our game, not that we ever had any doubt that we could do that. We put up a really good fight, as did the Russians and thought we had won that fourth race, hence why we protested, we wouldn’t have done otherwise. The race committee unfortunately didn’t take our evidence so the result stands and the Russians advance through to the semis and unfortunately that’s our medal hopes over.'
The result means Macgregor, Lush and Macgregor now progress through to the 5-8th Sail Off tomorrow (Thursday 9 August) where they will first of all face France, skippered by Claire Leroy, in a best of five match. The other sail off will see Anna Tunnicliffe’s USA team go head-to-head with the Renee Groeneveld-led Dutch team. The winner of each encounter will then compete for fifth and sixth place while the two losers will battle it out for seventh and eighth overall.
Lush said: 'It’s pretty hard to think about tomorrow right now, no one ever really wants to be in the 5-8, that’s the honest truth but we’re with some good company. The number one, two and three boats in the World are in the 5-8 so that probably just shows you the level of the competition here and how tight it is. We said it would come down to whoever showed up on the day, we definitely showed up today and are disappointed by that result. We feel pretty strongly that we did win that fourth race but unfortunately that’s not what has been ruled.'
Lucy added: 'It’s been an awesome four years and you know we did sail really well today, we just missed out on race four which obviously feels like a massive missed opportunity right now. We really raised our game in the quarter-finals today and we will be proud of that in a few days to come.'
The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August.