by Craig Heydon
Australia's Tom Slingsby has won a Gold medal on the penultimate day of racing at the Weymouth and Portland International Regatta, the test event for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Tom Slingsby on the podium in Weymouth - Photo Craig Heydon - Weymouth and Portland International Regatta 2011
Slingsby went into the final 10 boat medal race second overall, just one point behind New Zealand’s Andrew Murdoch and one ahead of Dutch sailor Rutger van Schaardenburg, with Olympic champion Paul Goodision of Great Britain just behind in fourth.
The scenario was simple for the triple World Champion, finish ahead of Murdoch and van Schaardenburg and within a couple of boats of Goodison.
'Rutger and Paul both got a really good start and were first and second most of the time,' said Slingsby. 'I didn’t get a good start and just tried to be patient, some of me was screaming to tack and take a big risk and go to a side but I decided to stay patient and try and chip away and in the end I just got there.
'Coming into the last mark before the short reach to the finish Rutger and I were right alongside each other, he called that he had room, I said that he didn’t and he called a protest,' he said. 'I knew I was about a metre clear and luckily the jury saw it the same way. He led me the whole way around and I only got him at the last point, you can’t ask for anything more than that.
Slingsby’s last gasp win made it four Gold medals from four regattas at the venue for the London 2012 Olympic Games, and just a year out from the main event the current ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year is progressing well.
'It’s always good to win at the Olympic venue, Goodison won all of the test events before China and my goal was always to stay undefeated leading up to the Olympics, and obviously the Olympics themselves,' he said. 'It doesn’t mean anything but it’s good for the confidence and shows your competitors that this is a venue that you like and you’re going to be hard to beat.'
Fellow Austrlian Krystal Weir finished eighth in the Laser Radial class following a seventh place finish in the medal race.
Weir had some great results during the week, including four top 10 finishes in the 10 fleet races.
'I had a good start to the medal race and was doing really well at the end of the first lap but unfortunately the last downwind was a bit tough and I got passed by a few boats which was a bit disappointing but overall it wasn’t a bad race,' she said. 'I had some really good moments in this regatta and it gives me a lot of confidence, I’ve got a year now to iron out a few little things and be ready to go next year.'
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