by Ian Grant on 30 Sep 2000
England's high performance sailing team are poised to claim a special place in Olympic sailing history on Sydney Harbour later today.
The spirited individual Gold Medal win by Shirley Robertson (Europe) and the memorable tactical 'dogfight' applied by Ben Ainslie to defeat Brazil's Robert Scheidt for the Laser class Gold Medal has England in a strong position to make a clean sweep of all the single handed classes.
No other country can compare with this result which is a credit to the individual skills of the athletes and the coaching program.
Triple Olympic Europe class sailing veteran Shirley Robertson overcame a 'pressure cooker' type situation to haul back from what appeared to be certain defeat in the final to claim her special place in Olympic history.
When Robertson sailed back to the Olympic compound at Rushcutters Bay Ben Ainslie was checking his calculations on the placing he needed to beat the four times World champion and defending Olympic champion Robert Scheidt for the Laser class Gold Medal.
Scheidt because of his impressive record was the favourite but no one was going to convince Ainslie or sway him away from his personal ability and confidence to win Gold.
Further more he was not prepared to accept defeat and produced a super human effort spiced with the famed British Bulldog fighting spirit to beat Scheidt in the best dinghy race ever witnessed on Sydney Harbour.
Later today Iain Percy will be racing for the Finn Class Gold Medal and on previous results stands to be a strong chance for victory to complete a triple Gold for Britain and post them as the most successful sailing Nation at the new Millennium Olympics.
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