Giles Scott says missing out on a world championship medal will serve as a “wake-up call” as he prepares to defend his Olympic title at Tokyo 2020.
Rio 2016 gold medallist Scott had to settle for fourth at the Finn Gold Cup, the class’s world championships, as racing came to a climax in Melbourne today.
Gold was out of reach for Scott, 32, as he went into the final double-points race but with just five points splitting second to fourth, the silver medal was still within his grasp.
A testing race in big seas and strong winds saw Scott, who won the European title in May, cross the line in eighth while podium rivals Zsombor Berecz (HUN) and Nicholas Heiner (NED) took second and third respectively.
Heiner secured the silver medal, while Berecz took bronze. The title went to New Zealand’s Josh Junior.
“Today was a big day – we had 20 knots gusting 25, and a heavy sea state off the sea wall here in Melbourne,” Scott, from Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, said.
“It was tough racing, and unfortunately for me it wasn’t the way I wanted to end the regatta. I didn’t really get the swing of it and ended up struggling in the medal race.”
Despite eight top ten finishes over the ten-race regatta, a 16th for Scott in the very first race meant little room for error in a 60-boat fleet packed with world champions and Olympic medallists. A 17th on the penultimate day put a fifth world title beyond his grasp.
“I just wasn’t quite consistent enough,” Scott admitted. “Yesterday I was well within a shot of bridging towards Josh who’s been the standout performer this week, but I got the last race wrong and so had to count my 16 which I was discarding. It comes down to consistency and I didn’t quite execute that.
“It’s frustrating to finish fourth, no-one wants that, but equally I didn’t want to finish second or third. It would definitely have been nice to have finished this year as European and world champion but ultimately it’s not about world titles, it’s about preparation for the Games.”
Similar to Junior and fellow New Zealander Andy Maloney, Scott juggles Olympic campaigning with his full-time commitments to Ben Ainslie’s America’s Cup challenge.
He’s under no illusions as to the challenge that lies ahead to defend his gold medal when the Olympics kicks off in Enoshima, just south of Tokyo, in July.
“Like the Kiwi lads I’ve got another big project on the go with the America’s Cup, but I will get a lot of time in the Finn between now and Tokyo,” he said.
“I think I’m still in a good place. The competition is right up there – the Kiwis, Zsombor, Heiner and I have been generally on the podium this year so it’s going to be hard fought. This week will serve as a bit of a wake-up call.”