Sunday is the first opportunity for Team GB sailors to collect gold at the 2012 Games. Britains triple gold medalist Ben Ainslie will attempt to win his fourth gold in the Finn final Medal race. While Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson will be going for a second gold in the Star event Medal race.
Ainslie will face yet another race against the Dane, Jonas Hogh-Christensen, the overall leader by two points and third placed Pieter-Jan Postma of the Netherlands. Postma will need to protect his possible bronze against a number of other boats behind him, but if Ainslie and Hogh-Christensen race each other out of contention Postma could be a suprise winner.
For Ainslie to win gold he has to beat the Dane and finish in the top seven boats. Even if Ainslie finishes seventh and Hogh-Christensen is eighth, leaving them both on 42 points, the Brit will win gold as he finished in the highest position in that final medal race.
Ainslie wasn't giving much away - “It's going to be a fascinating race; I'm really looking forward to it. It's hard to call tactics yet. It depend on the conditions and what sort of mood you are in when you get out of bed in the morning."
Høgh-Christensen - “I'm really looking forward to the medal race. It will be very exciting. It will be whoever beats who so it will be an epic battle. That is what we have here and why I love racing.”
For Percy and Simpson in the Star Medal race they face a three way battle for the gold. With every point worth two in the medal race, fourth place or better Sunday will guarantee the Brits gold. Meanwhile the Swedes, as well as the Brazilians, can also still win gold.
If Percy and Simpson finish seventh they are vulnerable to both Brazil and Sweden. In that circumstance Brazil would need to be third or better to claim gold while Sweden would have to win the race.
RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park:
“Ben is coping with the pressure very well, I think of all the sailors in that Finn fleet he has had to deal with a lot of pressure and expectation for a huge number of years now. He will cope with that pressure very well and it will be interesting to see how the Dane really deals with that."
"I would certainly still back Ben to the end and it will be a very interesting start. I think the start and first leg of the Finn race on Sunday is going to be quite intense."
“Iain and Bart have got a few points cushion so they have got a far better chance, so long as they are in touch with the Swedes and particular the Brazilians, even if they are behind, they will win the gold. They have quietly gone about their business, part of that is due to the media wanting to focus on the battle between the Dane and Ben, but if Iain wins, which I’m sure he will, it will be his third gold medal."
4 August 2012 19:16