by Rob Kothe
Olympics Day 12 Womens RS:X Medals Jian Yin (CHN) Gold, Alessandra Sensini (ITA) Silver, Bryony Shaw (GBR Bronze.
Jian Yin (CHN) celebrates immediately after crossing the finish line to win the RS:X Womens Gold medal
China's Yin Jian won Gold in the RS: X Women at the Olympic Sailing Regatta in Qingdao today, winning her country's first ever Olympic sailing gold.
World number one ranked sailor Marina Alabau (ESP) took the early lead on the favoured right side of the course, closely followed by Shaw (GBR), Sensini (ITA) and Yin (CHN), who had lost ground in a shift.
However, Yin power pumped towards the front of the fleet and the four fought it out at the front for the rest of the race. Senseni had a good final run to lead going into the slalom with Alabau and Shaw close together in second and third.
Olga Maslivets (UKR) had also sailed strongly on the second downwind to move ahead of Yin. The Italian fans were cheering as Sensini was looking certain to win the race.
Over the three legs of the slalom course the Chinese sailor found a gold medal winning surge. She pumped passed the Ukrainian and closed on Alabau. Shaw passed Alabau, who tacked away and Yin powered into third place.
The Athens 2004 Olympic silver medallist Yin punched the air in triumph after crossing the finish before being mobbed by her wildly excited support crew and an on water media scrum.
She put on a red and gold jacket before being towed the length of the main rock wall in front of ten thousand cheering Chinese fans.
Dockside she said’ 'For an old athlete, competing in this Olympics was hard. I’ve had many injuries over the last four years. I was able to persevere until now because I wanted to make China proud in the Olympic Games China was hosting’.
'The reason I've won today is because of the support of my family, friends and leaders.'
Yin was midfleet for much of the race but lifted to third by the finishing line to claim the title.
China has already won two Olympic silver medals in windsurfing, with Zhang Xiaodong in Barcelona in 1992 and Yin Jian in Athens in 2004, plus the Laser Radial bronze won by Xu Lijia on Tuesday.
Yin Jian was thrown into Qingdao harbour by her supporters, and then it was the turn of her coach Chen Jiang. He exhibited a few good sidesteps before he was caught and thrown into the harbour. His first comment ‘we are going to drink until we drop tonight.’
Alessandra Sensini from Italy took the silver medal today ahead of Bryony Shaw from Britain who won the bronze medal.
Senseni said ‘I had a good start, at the top mark I thought I had Gold, but the wind dropped and the Chinese girl came through.’
Bryony Shaw commented ‘Today was a pumping race. In the mid-stages, the wind shifted and that extended the race. I tip my hat to Italy and China; they had a very consistent week.’
Australian Jessica Crisp had a horror race, she started on the wrong side of a thirty degree shift, then she tracked towards the wrong mark late in the race. Dockside she explained that her coach had briefed her on the course and the information was wrong.
She finished at the back of the fleet, but she was philosophical. 'Even if I'd won the race, and the other guys had finished in the same order behind me, the overall results would not have changed.'
|RS:X - Women - Overall Results|
|9||HKG||Wai Kei Chan||10||10||6||13||7||12||6||7||-14||4||18||107||93|