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Sailing Raceboats 2016/17 RS Aero 728x90

Rio 2016 - RS:X Medal Races and Giles Scott seals Finn class gold

by Mark Jardine on 14 Aug 2016
Finn Gold for Giles Scott at the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition Richard Langdon/British Sailing Team
Excitement is mounting on day 7 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition as the events work towards their conclusion. The first of the Medal Races, in the Men's and Women's RS:X classes, were scheduled.

Men's RS:X Medal Race

The RS:X Men's Medal Race started at 14:35 on the Pão de Açúcar in a 9 knot southerly breeze. While the gold and silver medals had already been decided, the bronze could be won by any of 3 sailors, Poland's Piotr Myszka on 86 points, France's Pierre Le Coq on 89 points and Greece's Byron Kokkalanis on 91 points.

Dorian Van Rysselberghe and Nick Dempsey weren't taking things easy even though their medals were wrapped up, and they both flew out of the starting blocks - Dempsey getting the better start, but Van Rysselberghe going straight into a low mode and blasting away from the fleet at pace. As it was, Spain's Ivan Pastor Lafuente rounded the top mark first with Van Rysselberghe 2nd and Hong Kong's Cheng Chun Leung rounding at the same time as Dempsey.

Van Rysselberghe proved to be in a class of his own as he charged downwind to take the lead from Spain's Ivan Pastor and he charged on to take the medal race win from Pastor with Hong Kong's Cheng Chun Leung third. Nick Dempsey finished the race 4th to finish his 20 years of Olympic sailing and a silver medal to add to his bronze from Athens in 2004 and his silver at London 2012.

In the battle for bronze France's Pierre Le Coq finished just ahead of Greece's Byron Kokkalanis and Poland's Piotr Myszka, handing the medal to the Frenchman.

Women's RS:X Medal Race

Points were super-tight in the Women's RS:X class, with just 6 points separating the top six sailors. With double points and the Pão de Açúcar being so close to the shore, anything could happen.

France's Charline Picon and China's Peina Chen battled it out at the front of the fleet in the patchy conditions. At times the planing at 15 knots only to fall into windless patches and dropping to under 2 knots.

The pair went toe-to-toe all the way round the course in an exhausting battle of pumping. While the Netherlands' Lilian De Geus went on to win the race, Picon held off Chen on the line to take the gold medal with silver going to the Chinese sailor. Behind them it was crucial where Russia's Lilian De Geus finished, as she could still take gold, but she couldn't make her way through the fleet and had to settle for bronze.

It was heartbreak for Italy's Flavia Tartaglini who had been leading the Women's RS:X fleet for 6 races. An 8th in the medal race dropped her to 6th overall.


Out on the Finn course, Facundo Olezza from Argentina won race 9 from Croatia's Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, but crucially event leader Great Britain's Giles Scott finished 8th, just ahead of Slovenia's Vasilij Zbogar, to extend his overall lead to 18 points.

In the final race of the main series, ahead of the Finn medal race, Giles Scott showed his class to round the windward mark 4th, the leeward mark 2nd and then take the lead on the final windward mark. While Scott dropped back to 2nd on the final run, Vasilij Zbogar finished 8th, so Giles Scott confirmed his gold medal early by taking a 24 point lead into the medal race, and keep up the amazing Olympic streak that Great Britain has had in the Finn class, stretching back to Iain Percy's win at Sydney in 2000 and of course Sir Ben Ainslie's gold medals at Athens 2004, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.

Women's 470

After a 50 minute delay out on the Copacabana course, the 470 Women started proceedings. The big news at the start of race 6 was the Brazilian, New Zealand and Singapore teams being called over the line early and hence being disqualified from the race. This is a massive blow to the London 2012 Gold Medallists Jo Aleh & Polly Powrie from New Zealand as they already had a disqualification in race 1 on their score sheet. To add insult to injury, they went on to cross the finish line first in the race.

The big gainers could have been overall leaders Great Britain's Hannah Mills & Saskia Clark who held 2nd position for the first 1.5 laps, but then dropped down the fleet to finish 8th, but keeping their lead overall. The USA's Anne Haeger & Briana Provancha capitalised by finishing 4th, moving up to 2nd overall.

Race 7 saw victory for Great Britain's Mills & Clark followed by the USA's Haeger & Provancha, consolidating the two teams positions at the top of the leaderboad. New Zealand's Jo Aleh & Polly Powrie finished 3rd, leaving them in 7th position overall, and Australia's Carrie Smith & Jaime Ryan are in 11th.

Men's 470

A big blow to Luke Patience & Chris Grube's medal charge as they were called over the start line in 470 Men's race 6. The super-consistent Croatian pair of Sime Fantela & Igor Marenic finished 3rd in the race to extend their lead over the Australian team of Mathew Belcher & William Ryan to 17 points.

The Croatian team then finished 4th in race 7 to push their advantage over the Australians to 11 points. The USA's Stuart Mcnay & David Hughes are in 6th with New Zealand's Paul Snow-Hansen & Daniel Willcox ninth. Patience & Grube's day didn't finish well with a 20th dropping them to 10th overall.

Nacra 17

Argentina's Santiago Lange & Cecilia Carranza Saroli lead into the Nacra 17 Medal Race after a stunning final two races in the main series, posting 2,1 results. Five points behind are Italy's Vittorio Bissaro & Silvia Sicouri with Austria's Thomas Zajac & Tanja Frank a further 2 points back.

Long-time class leaders, the Australian pair of Jason Waterhouse & Lisa Darmanin, dropped to 4th after a 12th & 17th in the final two main series races and New Zealand's Gemma Jones & Jason Saunders are in 5th.

It has been a regatta of two halves for Great Britain's Ben Saxton & Nicola Groves. A stunning first 6 races saw them tied at the top of the leaderboard, but all their results then on were between 12th & 16th, dropping them to 8th and sadly this popular team is out of medal contention in Tuesday's medal race.

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