by Matt Carter
Alison Young showed a glimpse of her Olympic potential yesterday. Today her London Olympic Games 2012 sailing performance in Weymouth and Portland (Tuesday 31 August) left no one in any doubt at all that she can mix it at the top of the fleet.
Heavyweight Mens Singlehander - Ben Ainslie GBR - approaching Mark 1 on today’s first race
The 25-year-old, making her Olympic debut at these Games, revelled in breezes of 15-16 knots to score two hugely impressive second places to edge her way up to fourth overall after four races. Ireland’s Annalise Murphy has dominated the event so far with four straight wins.
Ali said: 'It was a good day, two seconds so I‘m pretty pleased with that. It was a bit better than yesterday and a good place to build the rest of the regatta from. I started better today which made life a little bit easier. 'The Irish boat is quick in the breeze. She’s always proved that so it will be a good challenge for the rest of the week. These conditions suit me I guess, we’ve done a lot of training here so I’m pretty happy we’ve got a bit of a handle on the venue.'
Britain’s Match Race Girls enjoyed a storming day three of their Olympic Regatta as they not only scored two perfect race wins but beat the newly-crowned World Champions into the bargain. Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor picked up their first double victory of the regatta so far in front of the gathered spectators on the Nothe course.
They firstly saw off the Finnish trio of Silja Lehtinen, Silja Kanerva, Mikaela Wulff, who had beaten Macgregor’s team en route to clinching the World crown in Sweden in June. The British girls, who themselves won the World title in 2010 and took silver in 2011, followed up that success with another impressive, gritty display in seeing off the French trio of Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou.
Lucy said: 'It’s certainly very tight across the whole fleet and they are two very good competitors so we were really pleased to have beaten them both in what were both really good races. The last couple of days we have felt like we have been there or thereabouts, we just weren’t quite nailing it even in the races we were winning. We felt a bit more like we were in the game today.'
Defending champions Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson extended their lead at the top of the Star fleet to four points with Britain’s first race win of the 2012 Olympic Regatta, then being given the nod in a photo decision for second place in race two.
A pragmatic Iain said: 'It’s good that we’re not coming last so we’re happy about that but there’s a long way to go so we have to take each race as it comes, as they always say, and just get on with it. We would rather be 20 points ahead, I can tell you. We’re four points ahead and I call that even with the Brazilians and Swedes. With six races to go all we can say is we’re going to battle for every place in each.'
Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw both got their RS:X windsurfing events off to a solid start. Dempsey scored a fifth and seventh to sit fourth overall and Shaw a seventh and a sixth to lay sixth overall at the end of their opening day.
Nick said: 'It was nice to get going. I felt pretty calm actually, far calmer than I have been at previous Games which is a good sign. When I was racing today I was just sailing like I would at a normal regatta which I think bodes well for the rest of the week. I think it will all come together.'
Bryony added: 'It was a reasonably good day and it just shows how good my board speed was. I can take a lot of positives out of this solid start with no major mistakes. The scores are on the board and I know if I keep chipping away and keep my board speed fast I can get into the top three come the end of the regatta.'
Ben Ainslie moved into silver medal position in the Finn fleet on day three of his Olympic Regatta before admitting 'I still need to pick the game up a bit.' A fourth and a third for Ainslie, plus the sailors being able to discard their worst score of the series after the completion of race five of the series, put clear distance between himself in silver and France’s Jonathan Lobert in bronze medal position.
But again it was Hogh-Christensen’s day as victory in the first race and second in race two kept him 10 points ahead of Ainslie in the overall standings after six races. Paul Goodison paid tribute to the British team physios and vowed to keep fighting after revealing a back injury was hampering the defence of his Olympic Laser class title.
Goodison sits in 12th overall, picking up a 16th and a heroic second place to improve on his overnight position of 17th.
He said: 'I put my back out at the beginning of the second race yesterday so I’m in quite a lot of pain. But you only get one chance at this every four years and you’ve got to do whatever it takes.'
Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes insisted they will be fighting on for another day after a second race capsize upset what was an otherwise impressive comeback from slightly disappointing opening day.
They sit 12th after their third and 18th today.
Racing is scheduled to resume at 12pm tomorrow. The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August.
British Sailing Team at London 2012 website