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SAILING: Eilidh and Sophie grab silver show
4:00pm Sunday 27th April 2014 in Sport
A BROKEN finger proved no problem for Portland-based Eilidh McIntyre and as she and Sophie Weguelin closed off an impressive week of World Cup racing in Hyeres with a silver medal in the 470 women’s event on Saturday.
Theirs was the sole piece of silverware for the British Sailing Team from the final day of competition at the southern French venue, and adds to the gold and bronze won by Britain’s Para-lympic Classes sailors in the Sonar and 2.4mR events on Fri-day.
The European bronze medallists Weguelin and McIntyre confirmed their participation at this final World Cup event of the season at the very last minute, after McIntyre broke her finger in a training accident back in February, missing the Palma edition of the series three weeks ago.
The 19-year-old had the pin removed just three days before the start of the event, leaving the pair short of practice prior to competition, but sailed a steady series to see them go into the final 10-boat medal race all but assured of a podium finish.
The New Zealand World and Olympic champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie had a comfortable 12-point buffer going into the final day, so the British crew was intent on protecting their sil- ver from the third-placed Amer-ican duo of Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha, rather than risking it to chase gold.
The British duo sailed a solid medal race to finish second, and consolidate their second place overall.
McInytre said: “It’s been a really fantastic week. We’ve sailed really well but just started to get a bit tired towards the end of the week as our sailing fitness isn’t really there. “But we’re so pleased – to do so well in spite of that is really brilliant, and we’ve got lots of work on during May in our training.
“We’re in a great position (for the season) especially as we feel we weren’t a million miles off. We were right there during the week and that’s a really positive place to be.”
After a good start to the week in the remaining Olympic Classes, Britain’s sailors endured a difficult finals series to leave them needing some strong performances and a bit of luck if they were to make the podium elsewhere on the final day. The 49erFX crew of Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth went into the final day’s 10-boat medal racing with a chance to break into the top three, but it was a case of what might have been.
The duo were unable to improve on their fourth place with Kate Macgregor and Katrina Best also in final day action, finishing 10th after their first medal race day as a crew.
Luke Patience and Elliot Willis enjoyed an impressive medal race in the 470 men’s event, finishing second to elevate them to sixth overall.
Weymouth’s Nick Dempsey was also in action in the RS:X windsurfing, finishing seventh in the final race and 10th overall.
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