EMOTIONAL Portland pair Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell admitted they had achieved their 'dream' by winning 49er gold at Tokyo 2020.

Going into the medal race, the Brits needed to gain four points on New Zealand duo Peter Burrell and Blair Tuke - the reigning Olympic and World champions.

The Team GB sailors stormed into the lead but faced late competition from Germany's Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel, who darted for the line at speed.

Fletcher and Bithell needed to hold their line on the left to avoid a penalty and did so successfully, edging the Germans by a matter of centimetres to beat the Kiwis, who finished third.

Speaking post-race, Fletcher, who is due to marry Team GB teammate Charlotte Dobson this month, said: "It’s been super close all week in racing and today just showed off what it’s been like.

"It was intense, it was close, but it was my aim to be sat here now as Olympic champion.

READ MORE: How Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell became Olympic champions

“I thought we had it (coming towards the finish line) to be honest, but I knew it was super touch and go and the other guys had right of way of us, so we had to be careful not to get a penalty and time everything just right.

"But Stu did an incredible job of making the boat go fast and we just nicked it at the end.

“The moment the Germans gybed out, that was an opportunity for us. We’re quite fast, but it was probably two thirds of the way down on the port, I thought this is seriously on now.

“Last week, just a few days before racing (I dreamt about winning), but I thought don’t engage don’t tell anyone, but it was amazing to have that dream come true.

“We haven’t raced against them (the New Zealand team) since pre-Covid down in Australia where we were selected early and we had to set about our campaign all around the gold medal.

"So there was a bit of nerves, for everyone I’m sure, not being able to race them. But to come here and deliver is just a huge testament to all of our team behind the scenes to make this happen, so I’m incredibly proud of the whole team.

“It is the start of a big month. The wedding (to Dobson) is in two to three weeks, we haven’t even invited everyone, there are so many things that most people would already have sorted out.

"But hopefully, maybe Charlotte will do it, she’s deciding most of the details."

Dorset Echo: Fletcher, centre left, and Bithell, centre right, celebrate Olympic gold Picture: SAILING ENERGY/WORLD SAILINGFletcher, centre left, and Bithell, centre right, celebrate Olympic gold Picture: SAILING ENERGY/WORLD SAILING

Fletcher pipped Bithell to selection for Rio 2016, finishing sixth, and told of how the pair teamed up for a tilt at Tokyo.

He said: "(The partnership with Stu came about), we were joking around after the Olympics in 2016 and we were sailing our moths, which are these little small boats that we sail, and joking: ‘What are you doing for the next four years? Do you fancy having a go?’ And that was it.

“Then we went to our first event in January 2017 and won it with some 20 points to clear and thought wow, there’s something here you know.

“I think it’s important in a double hander how you respond to pressure and how you want to handle that, and we’re kind of similar and thrive on that pressure when it comes on and enjoy it.

"That makes it easier to have those difficult conversations, or perform like we have done today out there. I think that is exactly what our team is about.”

Bithell, 34, confessed the Games could be his last.

He said: “I think the exact moment (we knew we were going to win) was the very last gybe at the end.

"They gybe and we gybed almost simultaneously, and I could just see the bow coming up and we were on a little bit of a wave and just got a little bit of surge and I thought that’s the one.

“Maybe a few china races, but I’ve certainly never seen that at the Olympics (winning by a few centimetres), not in the 49er class.

“Dylan talks about it’s been a long road since Rio, five years, but for me it’s been nine years. I missed out unfortunately in the last cycle to Dylan, so yeah it’s been a long part of my career really, chipping away and working hard.

"This is my last Olympics, almost certainly. As you can image it’s so nice to go away with the gold.

“I think (the partnership) is down to any good team.

"Our super strengths are slightly different and we just gelled well together.

"Dyl is very technical, he likes the numbers, I’m more of a feel man, so we use a bit of both at different times.

“Again, Dyl is a bit more fiery in the boat, where I’m a bit more calm so I think we just bounce really well off each other and tap into each other’s personality and strengths at the right time and it kind of works."

Dorset Echo: Giles Scott won his second straight Olympic gold Picture: SAILING ENERGY/WORLD SAILINGGiles Scott won his second straight Olympic gold Picture: SAILING ENERGY/WORLD SAILING

Scott, who was previously based in Weymouth before moving to Cambridgeshire, admitted he was "so, so proud" to win his second straight gold.

He said: “Stressful, I didn’t make it easy for myself, did I.

“I don’t think I was over. I think that was the wrong call, but I played it super safe because I always had it in the back of my mind that that’s the only way that I can really, really mess things up.

"So I made that call to go back and from there I had quite a lot on.

“I made it literally by the skin of my teeth. It is was down to last leeward mark, last reach, it was properly to the wire.

“It was really quite tight. I just got around the outside of the group at the bottom and from there I just had to make sure.

"I tried to stay vaguely relaxed on that final reach and not pick up a penalty. I’ve certainly not been involved in any former boat race that was a close as that.

“It is always difficult, and it was mine to lose. It absolutely was. It’s the balance that you’re playing risk out there.

"And if it had been any other race, there is no way I would have gone back. I could see that the Argentinian was advanced on me, but if there was two of us over it may very well have been me, so that was what made me make a snap decision to go back.

“I saw that (Fletcher and Bithell won gold). I’d made a point at not looking at them celebrate, I’m going to be honest. I couldn’t.

"I mean I’m so happy for them, they’ve absolutely nailed it this week and they thoroughly deserve it but it’s not what you need to see five minutes before you start your own race.

"So I kept my head down and got on with it, but awesome work for those boys. Two gold medals today, amazing effort.

“I’ve come back since the (America’s) Cup and I’ve been sailing for three and a bit months.

"Finished second in the Europeans, ninth at the Worlds, I’ve had to really hold on tight to be being on a timed run. And it’s something that my coach, Matt Howard and I have really been trying to hold on to, that we’re on a trajectory and the target is the Olympics.

"We’ve had a few wobbles along the way, but fortunately we’ve just about hit it where we needed to. It’s been a funny old year for everyone, certainly for me and for athletes around the world with Covid, but I’m pretty stoked.

“(I thought it had got away from me) until the last leeward mark, all the way. Of course I’d never give up, always kept pushing. But I’m a realist at heart, I can count.

“I knew that down that last run I had to make good headway. I made the call to go down the right-hand side, which was the tricky side to go down because it was down current.

"But I made a few nice calls and a few well-timed gybes and just, just, just sneaked round that group, which was enough.

“It was absolutely the greatest pressure I’ve ever felt. Without a doubt. The pressure kind of climbed throughout the race.

"As soon as the orange flag goes up, I do tend to kind of chill out a little bit and relax, but from then on in it was stressful."

For an event which now ends for Paris 2024, Scott was proud to win the final gold medal.

He said: "As a nation we’ve won every gold since 2000. Started with Perth with Iain Percy, with Ben Ainslie and now myself, so yeah we own it.

“Sailing is, we’re so dependent on the wind obviously. When the wind is in, it is super exciting regardless of the set-up of the points and in those light conditions it just gets super close and it’s just a mind game.

"It comes down to centimetres and inches. Hopefully it provided a little bit of entertainment around the world.

“I’m so, so proud. There’s such amazing heritage in the Finn, it’s such a shame it is leaving the Games.

"And to follow legends like Ben Ainslie and Iain Percy, they were my heroes growing up, so yeah, it’s a good moment.

“Yeah I’ll stop for a little bit. I’ve been pretty flat out for the last five years, so I’ll have a week off or so.”

Dorset Echo: Saskia Tidey, left, and Charlotte Dobson, right Picture: SAILING ENERGY/WORLD SAILINGSaskia Tidey, left, and Charlotte Dobson, right Picture: SAILING ENERGY/WORLD SAILING

However, there was disappointment for Portland-based Saskia Tidey and Dobson in the women's 49erFX.

Their placing of seventh in the medal race left them sixth overall.

Dobson said: "That was some morning I think I’ve had. The end of our campaign and our medal hopes, but amazing to watch Dylan and Stu win their gold medal.

“They’ve been amazing supporters of ours the whole way through this cycle and this morning optimises to me the ying and yang of sport - with amazing results someone has to lose.

"That’s kind of what we know when you get into this world. You risk feeling terrible for the moment to be able to feel how Dylan and Stu feel right now.

“I’m sure this gold medal (Fletcher’s) is going to follow me around. It will be on our dining table I’m sure for the foreseeable future, but I’m just really, really, really proud of him and the team that has been around both Dylan and Stu, and Sas and I.

"The support we’ve got, the help we’ve had from the National Lottery to even be here, is just second to none.

“Sometimes this campaign when it got difficult, certainly with covid, you look around at the support around you, you think if you can’t do it with these guys around you, you probably don’t deserve to. And I mean the support we’ve had has been incredible.

“We had another light wind and choppy medal race. Just as the breeze was starting to pick up, we were on first.

"We didn’t have the best start and lane hold, and then we got a bit dictated to by that time, so really the race was kind of out of hands in that light wind stuff and it’s really important to be in control of your race.

“We kind of did come back into it right at the end, so that was really nice to do that last little bit with the kite up past the rest of our team. To be honest a large part of the damage was done in the last two days in the lighter winds.

“At this level you can’t expect to win medals with holes in your performance and unfortunately we kind of got found out this week in these lighter winds, which is frustrating because in the past we’ve dealt with that weakness. But yeah, really disappointing.

“We fought for every place we could around the medal race, the spirit was really good all the way up to the end so we have that to be proud of.

“It’s been amazing (to watch Dylan win gold). Very, very stressful, I feel really bad for what we have done to our parents and friends and family over the last couple of weeks, but really, really proud.

"This morning he just seemed so on it and so ready. When I saw the split from the Kiwis, I was really proud of him, like he was backing himself and he was really confident.

"And he and Stu are such an incredible team together, they bring the best out in each other. I can’t really be more happy for him to be honest.

“(The wedding is planned for) 26th August, so not too long to even out the tan lines!

"No (the preparations aren’t done) in the slightest, but time and pressure will make us organised. I’m sure we’ll just be decisive. The wedding is in Portland which is where we live.

“Quite often it does happen like that (a close finish), but not usually for gold and silver, that will probably be one of the moments of the sailing games I would have thought.

"It’s just amazing for that to be broadcast to our friends and family at home and all the people who have really put us here, buying lottery tickets, supporting sports, so thank you National Lottery we hope we gave you a good show this summer.”

Tidey, 28, said: “It was a week of two halves. We started off with some pretty glamour conditions here in Japan, a lot more what of what we were expecting, real skiff conditions and we started off on the right foot.

"And the second half of the week we lost wind which is pretty challenging in our boats.

"But you know we fought through it and we pushed hard and tried to fight for every inch and it hasn’t gone our way.

“But in saying all that, we’ve put together a campaign over five years and it’s been an honour to sail with Charlotte and to be part of this team.

"Now it’s about cheering on everyone else and being part of the rest of the experience.”

Poole's Hannah Mills is already assured of a medal, holding a 14-point lead with partner Eilidh McIntyre in the women's 470.

They go for gold at 7.33am tomorrow.

Mills said: “We are in a great place. We are 14 points ahead of second place and I think guaranteed a medal, and that’s amazing, but we have come here to win.

“Anything can happen in the final race. It’s worth double points, there’s more on the line, we just have to stay focussed and put in a good race tomorrow.”