Team GB rules the waves with double Olympic gold medal wins

Giles Scott wins gold in the men’s Finn class shortly after fellow sailors Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell narrowly claimed first in the men’s 49er

Tearful family members watched on as Team GB ruled the waves in Tokyo with sailors scooping double Olympic gold medal glory on Tuesday.

Giles Scott won gold in the men’s Finn class, Britain’s sixth successive title in the event, shortly after fellow sailors Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell narrowly claimed first in the men’s 49er.

There were tears and jubilant scenes at Hollingworth Lake Sailing Club near Rochdale, Greater Manchester, as Bithell’s parents Vivian and Leslie watched the pair take the final turn in second but then edge over the finish line in front.

The pair went into the final medal race, where double points are awarded, in second, four points behind New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, but victory for Fletcher and Bithell and third for New Zealand saw them claim the title.

Meanwhile, Scott finished fourth in his medal race to end the event on 45 points overall, just three points ahead of second place in a nail-biting finish.

The 34-year-old from Cambridgeshire retained the title he won at Rio 2016, finishing ahead of Hungary’s Zsombor Berecz and Spain’s Joan Cardona Mendez.

Scott, 34, from Huntingdon, said: “I made it by the skin of my teeth, it was properly to the wire, it was really tight. I tried to stay relaxed but I’ve never been involved in a boat race as close as that.”

Scott’s father John described his pride as he and his wife Ros watched on at the National Sailing Academy in Weymouth.

“I’m afraid I was up at 2.30am, I couldn’t sleep – but fortunately there was plenty on the telly, so I was watching all the sport, getting ready for this ride,” the 69-year-old told the PA news agency.

“I’m proud for him as much I’m proud of him… he’s shown his mettle by coming back into this boat, and after a really rocky first day, showing why he was defending Olympic champion.”

The couple spoke to their son via video call after his victory, when Mr Scott said his son told him ‘I’m relieved to see I didn’t give you a heart attack’.

The wins at Japan’s Enoshima Yacht Harbour took Britain’s gold medal haul to 13.

There was also a silver for Olympic debutants John Gimson and Anna Burnet in the mixed Nacra 17 class, who finished in fifth in the medal race to stay in second place behind Italians Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti.

And there was another medal in the pool as Harrogate’s Jack Laugher, 26, bagged the third Olympic medal of his diving career with bronze in the men’s 3m springboard final at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre.

Updated: August 3rd 2021, 8:24 AM
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