Trio of medals for GB’s sailors on final day of first Tokyo 2020 test

Written by 16th September 2018 Featured-post, World Cup Series

British Finn sailors Giles Scott and Ed Wright scooped silver and bronze medals on the Olympic waters of Enoshima on Sunday as Elliot Hanson was crowned Laser class champion.

Rio 2016 gold medallist Scott and European champion Wright started the final day of World Cup Series Enoshima in second and third, just a handful of points behind overnight leader Nicholas Heiner.

But a lack of wind in Enoshima, the venue for the Tokyo 2020 sailing competition, meant the medal race could not go ahead – and the Brits were denied the shot at glory.

Regardless, it was a solid return to the Olympic circuit for Scott, who has not raced his Finn since April.

For Wright a bronze caps a strong season that saw him crowned European champion in March, and narrowly miss out on a medal at the world championships last month.

The scores took Britain’s medal haul to two golds – courtesy of Hanson and 49er pair James Peters and Fynn Sterritt – plus Scott’s silver and Wright’s bronze.

Giles Scott

Giles Scott wins silver at WCS Enoshima. Sailing Energy/World Sailing

“To come here and race against the top guys and come away with a silver medal is great,” said Scott.

“The reason I was so keen to come out was to see what the Olympic venue has to offer, and it seemingly has an awful lot to offer. I’ve been away from the Finn a little while now, and it’s probably about time to start ramping it up again.”

Wright added: “This result rounds off the year nicely but I was really disappointed not to win the world championships as I was so close. Next year I’m going to come back even stronger.”

Ed Wright

Ed Wright, bronze medallist. Sailing Energy/World Sailing

The Laser fleet was first to launch, and officials did manage to get a race in – but with an enormous 43-point overnight lead the result was immaterial to Britain’s Elliot Hanson.

Hanson finished sixth on the water but it didn’t make any difference to the standings. The victory is Hanson’s fourth medal since returning from injury in May.

Fellow Brit Michael Beckett finished fourth, two points behind New Zealand’s bronze medallist Sam Meech, while Lorenzo Chiavarini was eighth.

“It’s amazing to win on Olympic waters – there’s a real history of those who can perform in venue in the years running up to the Games going on to have great success,” said Hanson.

“That’s a great confidence boost going into the next two years. As a British squad we’re so strong and it’s going to be tough just to qualify for the Games. This result certainly isn’t the be all and end all but it’s a great boost.”

Elliot Hanson

Elliot Hanson with his gold medal. Sailing Energy/World Sailing

The Finn class was not the only one to suffer a windless fate – the women’s and men’s 470 medal race contenders were still in the boat park when they were told they would not be racing today.

It meant Olympic champion Hannah Mills and crew Eilidh McIntyre were powerless to improve on their fifth place.

“It was a really tough week – we really weren’t firing on all cylinders – but it’s been great to be here,” said Mills.

“It’s my first time in Japan and at the Olympic venue so it’s been great to get a feel for the place so we can learn and prepare for Tokyo 2020.

“It’s frustrating not to have a medal race – we clawed our way into a position where we could attack and at least try for a medal, and to be denied that chance is really disappointing.”

McIntyre added: “It’s not the result we came for but we will learn and come back stronger next time we’re here.”

For the majority of the British Sailing Team, WCS Enoshima was the last international event of the season, although some will stay in Japan for Enoshima Olympic Week from September 21 to 24.