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Thursday, August 21, 2008

GB sailors take Star gold medal

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson won Britain's fourth sailing gold as they held their nerve in a thrilling climax to the Star class event in Qingdao.

Percy and Simpson started the medal race in second place and had to fight tooth and claw with Sweden before getting to the line just ahead of them.

The gold was the ideal end to Britain's most successful regatta in a century.

Brazil's Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada took silver, and Sweden's Fredrik Loof and Anders Ekstrom claimed the bronze.

Britain finished on 45 points, eight in front of the Brazilians and Swedes. The South Americans took silver by virtue of their better result in the medal race.

Percy and Simpson added another gold medal to Britain's tally in Qingdao, following in the wake of Ben Ainslie, Paul Goodison and the Yngling crew of Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson.

With six medals altogether, Britain's tally surpassed the five medals won in Sydney and Athens and matched the record from the London Games back in 1908.

GB sailing manager Stephen Park said his team's sustained success - this was the third Games in the row that they had topped the sailing medals table - was part of a more general change within British sport.

"It's absolutely fantastic, I'm over the moon with the medals and the gold for the Stars is the icing on the cake," said Park, who was thrown into the water by his jubilant team after the end of the regatta.

"It's a huge relief that we've actually managed to deliver against our target. I'm really pleased that Great Britain is having a fantastic Olympic Games and we're playing our part in that.

"We're working hard to try to keep up with my good mate Dave Brailsford (Team GB's cycling chief) and all of the cyclists and David Tanner (his equivalent with the British rowers) and the rowing team.

Courtesy BBC NEWS

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