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Tokyo 2020 – Day 5 – A guaranteed medal!

Written by 29th July 2021 Featured-post, Tokyo 2020

© Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Well, it gives us great pleasure to say we have a guaranteed medal at Tokyo 2020.

That is a line we hope to copy and paste over the next few days, but one step at a time for now.

Our young windsurfer Emma Wilson has impressed day after day in her Olympic debut and she will cap it all off with a medal. Which colour yet we don’t know, but she will definitely bring one home.

Emma finished yesterday with a disqualification for going over the start line early. Beijing 2008 medallist Bryony Shaw told Jason Mohammad on BBC One last night that she was worried this may change Emma’s tactics and make her a bit cagey. She needn’t have worried.

Emma rose to the occasion, taking a race win, a fifth and sixth to go into Saturday’s double points medal race in second overall, 24 points ahead of fourth with a maximum of 20 on offer in the finale. That’s enough to guarantee her a medal, but the colour is still to be decided.

Now, it’s a three-way fight with China’s Yunxiu Lu and France’s Charline Picon to determine the order of the women’s RS:X podium. It’s a tough ask – Lu is top with a four-point advantage and Picon is trying to defend her gold from Rio 2016.

Those wanting to watch the finale will have to set an alarm – it begins on 6.33am on Saturday – but it will be totally worth it.

Tom Squires finished his fleet racing today and is sitting in sixth overall after a string of 2-6-10 results. He will go into the medal race with an outside chance of getting a bronze medal, but will need results to go his way.

One man on a mission is Giles Scott. He took another two race wins – that’s an impressive string of four in a row over two days. Giles got a Finn gold in Rio and it looks like he wants to go out with a bang as a double Olympic champion. He is on the right path that’s for sure.

One defending champion to another – Hannah Mills had a race win in her final race of the day with Eilidh McIntyre in the women’s 470. A tricky first race had them finishing in seventh but the pair know how to bounce back. They sit in second now.

Luke Patience and Chris Grube are also going well in the men’s 470. A second place and a fourth has them sitting second. They are stringing together some consistent results and not dipped under an eighth-place race finish yet.

Another stellar performance from John Gimson and Anna Burnet have them in second in the Nacra 17. Two wins and a second place. They hit the halfway stage of their fleet racing in great form.

Originally on a rest day but needing to make up some races, Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell keep hold of top spot in the 49er with a third and a 14th – which they discard. The pair are also at the halfway point.

Another two top ten results keeps Ali Young in the Laser Radial top ten and on course for a medal race appearance while Elliot Hanson is just outside the Laser top ten in 12th.

Giles and the Nacra 17 duo have a rest day tomorrow, as do tom and Emma before their medal race. Everyone else in action and looking to keep pushing on.



RS:X Women
Emma Wilson, 22, from Christchurch, Dorset, said:

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. My coach told me on the rib and it’s an amazing feeling. I’ve watched the Olympics since I was a little kid and it’s always been a dream. And finally I haven’t come fourth as well which is so good because I’m sick of it.

“I’m super happy. One more race I can just give everything for and see what can happen.

“I had really good speed the last few days and that was really good. I have to say thank you to the lads in Weymouth who’ve trained with me. They all helped me so much. It’s an amazing feeling.

“I want to ring my brother as well because he has been pushing me since I was a little kid as well. That’s gonna be cool.

“I kept my cool when it was tight. Obviously today was harder than any other day because I had to think more about the other people but I think I’m really proud of how I’ve approached the whole event.”

RS:X Men
Tom Squires, 27, from Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire, said:

“The launch race had a lot riding on it, and I had a bit of an average one, so we’ll see how points are when we’re going into the medal race.

“I’ve put up a fight this week it’s been good racing and we’ve had a good wind, and I’ve really loved the racing.

“I had two good races and then the wind just started to drop on the last one and I had a really rubbish start and then I had to find bad lanes out as I was already at the back at that point, so I think I was just trying to take as many places as I could.

“It’s not the end yet and I’m looking forward to having a good medal race hopefully.”

Dylan Fletcher, 33, from Thames Ditton, Surrey, said:

“We expected a bit more breeze but ultimately it was a lighter forecast and we found it quite tricky with an up and down breeze and having a target on our backs when we were leading with a lot of boats tacking on us. We weren’t really as prepared for that as we should have been but we battled through at the end of the day.

“We were surprised in the first race when the Spanish pairing, Diego and Iago, were tacking on us up the first beat, just thought ‘wow, we have got a lot of racing left’. If they are thinking about tacking on us rather than getting their points you know. But we just need to focus on our racing and thankfully pulled it back in the last race.

“We had a tricky start in the second race, again got tacked on a few times, then there was quite a bit split in the breeze which is quite unusual. Really, from the start we kept making some good decisions and over taking. You know, it’s just about holding your nerve when you are that deep and had a bad first race.

“Halfway stage of the regatta, and as Stu said the other day, there’s no place you would rather be than leading at this point. There’s a long way to go with different conditions and that’s what we like, mixing it up you know.”

Stu Bithell, 34, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, said:

“I had a little chuckle to myself when I saw Pete [Burling] jumping out of the boat again, but to be honest with us in the depths of racing ourselves and at the back a little bit it didn’t last long. But it’s always good to see the kings drop the guard.

“It’s halfway, it’s good to be out in front but there’s no denying there’s still plenty of hard work to do.”

Giles Scott, 34, from Huntingdon, Cambs, said:

“The Enoshima course is like a washing machine, it’s a great racecourse but I just think it’s a shame that there’s not able to be many spectators around – it’s a perfect showcase of Olympic boat racing. I’m happy that I was able to put in a scorecard like I did today, and I feel like I earnt my rest day.

“The wind direction we had today from the south was just fine, the sea state is very tricky but there’s no level of randomness in the sea – I think it just requires a bit of a different skill set. When the breeze blows here from the sea, anything from the south, then I think all the courses close to the shore are just fine. It gets really tricky when the breeze shifts to the north, and it comes out of the city which makes things a little trickier.

“I just think I got it right today and a few of us were picked up on the right-side favour. Those of us that got there quickest did the best throughout the race and had good downwind speed and were able to hang-on to a couple of firsts.

“I’m super sad that it’s the last games for the Finn in the Olympics, the timing for me personally though means I don’t think it will affect my Finn sailing in the future. But the Finn has such an amazing heritage and some legends of the sport have come through the class so it’s a pleasure to be a part of that.”

470 Women
Eilidh McIntyre, 27, from Hayling Island, Hants, said:

“Confident. That’s a big word right now. It was just nice to pull back that first race. We were having a tough race and we turned it around on the last run. It was good to come away with two counters to be honest. Obviously nice to have the first win of hopefully a couple at this regatta.

“We just want to keep putting in those consistent scores. It’s a very boring thing to say but it is a boring thing. You just have to keep getting good results and you will be there at the end of the regatta.

“Every time I see the Olympic rings. Our accommodation is amazingly branded. Every time I see the Team GB lion my heart is just so full and proud to be here.

“Seeing the success of others and seeing them win gold, you know, seeing the emotion of people like the coach of Tom Daley, you just sit there and think you can see how much he wanted it and fought for it, and I want the same.

“Before everything kicked off me and Hannah were lucky enough to go to the team village and just see all those incredible athletes you have looked to and admired in the flesh, it’s a really proud moment.

“I talk to my family every day. Get a little text. My family group pretty much kicks off every time I am out sailing. But it’s so nice just to get the support. All our friends are getting up early to watch. It’s amazing. It’s like this every Games. The British public are just so incredible and get behind us and I just love them.”

470 Men
Luke Patience, 34, from Rhu, Scotland, said:

We’ve had two races today and it’s been windy and wavy again. Really it’s been big, big long courses so that the day was all about finding space on the racecourse and ripping around the ocean.

“We love that condition, and we knew that if we could find some space we were dangerous, and we did find that space, and we were dangerous. We could let the boat go, decisions are made easy when we’re fast and it was a comfortable day.

“We’re tired of course, we’ve been working hard, but it was controlled and comfortable and we feel composed right now.

“It’s important to us that we’re already in a decent place, it marks the halfway stage and on any given day you want to be wearing the bibs at the front end of the fleet.

“Your competitors will go to sleep at night knowing that and hopefully thinking about you, therefore not thinking about themselves, so in sports it’s all about that mental gain as well. A lot of the winning and the performance that you have is extended onto your competitors, it’s a by-product.

“We’re not thinking about it but just being in a good position is an exponential gain, it’s not just a points gain it’s a mental gain as well, so it’s important. Hopefully get a well-earned break get two races in tomorrow and hopefully go to bed that night still at the pointy end of it all.”

Chris Grube, 36, from Chester, Cheshire, said:

“It’s been a dream start. I think we came into this regatta having had a couple of poor events but what we’ve done well in the lead up to this is we’ve actually found some areas that have made us a lot quicker in the boat.

“The boat is a lot easier to sail now than it has been in the last two events that we’ve had this year. That gave us a lot of confidence coming in and I think we both really believe in each other as a team and that’s definitely improved coming into this. I think we’re coming in with a lot of fight and relentlessness and we’re pushing for every single boat on the racecourse.”

Nacra 17
John Gimson, 38, from Congleton, Cheshire, said:

“We never get tired of Nacra racing, there’s a lot of nip and tuck and in today’s conditions it’s quite full on but that’s what we enjoy.

“At the last when we were half-pitch polled and the Italians had done the same, it was a slightly worrying moment, but we managed to recover.

“Our strategy going forward is just to keep chipping away. We’ve had some light airs forecast and with the Nacra there can be a lot of luck involved so we just need to keep chipping away and rely on the average.”

Anna Burnet, 28, from Shandon, Scotland, said:

“Today I think we felt quite confident and comfortable in the conditions, so we had to make the most of it. We know it’ll change and I’m sure the next few days of racing will see the conditions changing.

“It’s a less controllable strategy for sure, I think in those conditions which we had today it’s a lot about the boat speed. If you get space on the course and you’re fast, then it becomes a bit simpler and then in the light winds everyone evens up a lot more in speeds and anyone can win the race.

“There’s a lot of tactics involved, and it can become quite scary, especially in the Nacra when there’s a crossover and boats can be foiling and not foiling, and the speed difference is just enormous so it can be quite stressful.”

Laser Radial
Ali Young, 34, from Bewdley, Worcestershire, said:

“It’s been a pretty breezy day with some waves, pretty physical sailing. Generally got myself around tenth in both races. I’m feeling pretty tired and I hiked pretty hard. My starts were decent today so just focussing on executing the key bits well and trying to build some races from there.”