On the first day of racing at Tokyo 2020 yesterday, Olympics debutants Tom Squires and Emma Wilson admitted to feeling a mixture of emotions. On day two, the nerves were definitely settled.
Young gun Emma Wilson kicked off the day with a race win and followed it up with a not-too-shoddy second and a fourth. Those results leave her tied on points with France’s Charline Picon at the top of the RS:X leaderboard – but due to the quirks of sailing, Picon officially leads with two race wins to Emma’s one.
If you know Emma you’ll know that not a lot phases her when she gets on a board. That youthful love of racing is certainly paying off and she is really embracing her Olympic debut. Two-time Olympian mum Penny will be proud.
Emma’s races were in a stronger breeze than yesterday and Tom was watching from ashore licking his lips at the thought of getting out in the conditions he loves.
True to form, Tom was runner-up in race four but was less than impressed when the second was postponed due to the dropping wind. A steady 11-4 in races five and six moves Tom up to seventh at the halfway mark of fleet racing.
Ali Young described her day as ‘crushing’. It wasn’t too bad though on the score board as she sits in 15th overall with a ninth and a 20th place finish. Ali remains in touching distance of the top ten and with a few rivals picking up the odd big score consistency and dropped score could be crucial.
Elliot Hanson hit the water for the morning session and started well. However, he got caught up in mid-fleet for both races of a very strong Laser contingent. Elliot stays in the top ten after three races and will look to push on tomorrow when he sails three times to catch up on the schedule.
Emma and Tom get a much-deserved rest tomorrow when Giles Scott makes his start on his Olympic title defence in the Finn, and the 49ers and 49erFX join Ali and Elliot for some Olympic racing.
WHAT THEY SAID:
Emma Wilson, 22, from Christchurch, Dorset, said:
“It was a really good day, really happy. It was a lot more fun and a bit more like what we are used to back home but I have prepared for everything.
“The start was really important. I had some good starts and that really helped me and I just kept going fast.
“It’s my first Olympics and I am doing really well. I’m happy. We last raced in April and then I went back home to train in Weymouth with my friend, the Danish girl, and we are doing pretty well. We have a bit of a laugh and a joke before the races and it’s really nice.
“It was pretty shifty the wind from the land so that was always going to be tricky. I had good starts and I just had to try and do what I do best and trust myself.”
Elliot Hanson, 27, from Macclesfield, Cheshire, said:
“I’m disappointed with my performance today as I had every opportunity to get some good results and feel I let some points slip. It was a really tricky race course with unstable winds and I played it a little too conservative at times when my rivals backed themselves.
“I’m still in the hunt, and with three races tomorrow I’m looking forward to leaving it all out there in what promises to be a very physically demanding day.”
Tom Squires, 27, from Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire, said:
“It was really good fun today. Broke into the regatta yesterday a bit nervous and then to come through today I feel I am racing well, more relaxed, got a lot of energy from watching Emma’s racing and how well she did. I didn’t want to have the worst day so tried to do as well as I could.
“The wind was crazy. First race was my jam. I love it when it’s windier and then a bit of postponement just sitting there watching the wind die which wasn’t best for my motivation. I just tried to stay calm to see what the breeze was and try to sail fast in the right direction. Simple.
“There’s a massive range of guys size wise. There’s a huge weight range, like 16-17kgs, and depending on the conditions it depends who’s game it is. Especially when the wind is onshore and it’s a speed race in the lighter stuff the lighter guys do well. When it’s a speed race in the breeze it’s obviously the bigger guys, but when it’s that offshore shifty stuff it’s anybody’s.
“It’s a shame about my 11th but after a pretty shoddy start I did the best I could. My super strength is kicking up the dagger board in the breeze so I was basically sailing twice the distance of the lighter guys trying to catch them up and hoping for a bit of a shift. An eleventh was aright after a pretty rubbish start.”
Ali Young, 34, from Bewdley, Worcestershire, said:
“Yeah, pretty crushed, pretty disappointed at the moment. Made some errors in the last race and haemorrhaged quite a few boats.
“We had pretty big pressure differences, like 20-30 degrees of shift, but there were gains, opportunities for gains and losses all around the track.
“We are presented with a different set of conditions for tomorrow, so I kind of need to get settled into what they are.”