Windsurfers next up for medal chance

Dorset Echo: Iain Percy, Andrew Simpson and Ben Ainslie with their Olympic medals Iain Percy, Andrew Simpson and Ben Ainslie with their Olympic medals

A SPECTACULAR first day of medal races gave the British Sailing Team a boost as they head into the final week of the 2012 Olympic regatta.

Team GB’s Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson brought home the first sailing medal – a silver – in the men’s Star keelboat before Ben Ainslie upped the accolades with a gold in the Finn heavyweight dinghy class.

Weymouth’s windsurfers Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw are now both in medal contention for tomorrow’s medal races, staged on the Nothe course, after a strong weekend of performances.

Dempsey achieved second, third, ninth and second places in his four final fleet races to boost his silver medal position lead to 11 points.

While Shaw came seventh, fifth, first and fifth to minimise the points difference between herself and her rivals in the medal spots.

Weymouth’s World Champions Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark are back up on top of the 470 Women’s leaderboard after posting first and sixth in yesterday’s races.

They have a rest day today and then four more races before Friday’s medal race.

Team GB’s 49er high-speed Skiff sailors Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes are currently third overall after finishing 13th and third yesterday.

They will be competing in their final two races today on the Nothe course ahead of Wednesday’s medal race.

Poole Match Race sisters Lucy and Kate Macgregor and crewmate Annie Lush have secured a place in the Elliott 6m keelboat quarter-final showdown tomorrow, despite losing their two races on Saturday.

The trio will go head to head with Russian rivals Ekaterina Skudina, Elena Syuzeva and Elena Oblova on the Nothe course.

Portland's 470 Men's dinghy contenders Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell came third and fourth in their two Saturday races to sit in silver medal position going into today’s races.

They have four races to go before Thurday’s medal race.

There were mixed fortunes on Saturday for Weymouth’s Paul Goodison and Portland’s Ali Young, who both secured spots in the Laser and Laser Radial dinghy final 10-boat double-points races but face the devastation of being out of medal contention.

Beijing gold medallist Goodison, who has suffered from a serious back injury all week, is sixth overall but too far behind on points to reach the podium.

Young, 25, saw her chances for a first Olympic medal slip away when she was disqualified for jumping the starting pistol in race nine, leaving her sixth and 22 points away from the bronze.

Ainslie, 35, praised his teammates as he made history and became the world's most successful Olympics sailor yesterday.

He said: “It’s been a phenomenal team effort.

“The Star boys were so close to gold, the rest of the team’s medal races are still to come, they’re all fighting their hearts out to do the best job they can.

“It’s been an honour to be part of the Olympic team over the years and this one has been the best team.

“We're going to stay around and support these guys as hopefully they’ll be able to bring home those medals.”

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