Britain has claimed its first sailing medal of Rio 2016 - ahead of tomorrow's first medal race - after windsurfer Nick Dempsey secured a second successive RS:X Men’s Olympic silver.
The five-time Olympian, who celebrates his 36th birthday today, has guaranteed he cannot be toppled from second position on the podium before tomorrow’s double points medal race even takes place.
The gold medal has been won by Dorian Van Rijsselberghe (NED), who successfully defended the title he won at London 2012 with a strong performance in yesterday’s races.
Dempsey is now set to retire from the sport he has dominated in the UK and has already taken steps to become a sport photographer.
The Peterborough-raised star made his Olympic debut aged 19 at Sydney 2000, where he finished 16th, before he made history in Athens four years later in becoming the first Brit to ever win a windsurfing Olympic medal when taking bronze.
After the bitter disappointment of fourth place at Beijing 2008, Dempsey bounced back in style winning silver at London 2012.
Now the Weymouth-based dad of two admits feeling proud of his three Olympic medals as he looks forward to a ‘stress free medal race’ tomorrow.
Dempsey said: ‘I feel very happy to have won a silver medal. It’s nice to have had a good spell at the top and be competitive over five Olympic Games. I’m pretty proud of that.
‘A year ago I finished nowhere near the podium and I knew I had a lot of work to do. The last 12 months have gone really well and I’ve worked really hard. It was nice to come here with a chance of a medal and silver is awesome. I can do what I want in the medal race! It’s a little parade and it will be the last race of my career.’
Day six round-up
Today in the men’s Laser dinghy fleet, a top performance saw Tonci Stipanovic secure Croatia’s first ever medal in Olympic sailing, with the silver guaranteed ahead of Monday’s medal race.
The only sailor who can threaten Croatian gold is Tom Burton (AUS) who sits 10 points behind Stipanovic and is assured of a medal.
It was a tense day on the water for the Men’s Laser fleet, with one race on the Niterói course and the last qualifying race on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course. Stipanovic kept his nerve to score 7,3 and Burton also sailed consistently for a 11,4. Sam Meech’s (NZL) victory in the last race has lifted the New Zealander to third overall, but it was not a good outing for Brazilian sailing legend Robert Scheidt who tumbled from second overall to fifth after failing to get to grips with the day, his scores 26,11.
The reigning World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR) started well with a sixth but tailed off with a 22nd and sits on equal points with the Brazilian. Meanwhile Jean Baptiste Bernaz has elevated himself to fourth overall and a point in front of Brazil and Britain. The best any of these three can hope for is to attack Meech for the bronze medal.
Meanwhile, Britain’s Giles Scott extended his lead on the Finn fleet, with two series races left to play for he has a 16pt lead.
Nacra 17 multihull sailors Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves are still in the medal hunt in bronze medal position but it’s super close at the top.
Alison Young won the final Laser Radial series race and heads into the medal race in eighth position.
Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign moved up to 12th overall after two top ten finishes in the 49er and 49erFX women’s team of Sophie Ainsworth and Charlotte Dobson moved up to sixth after their four race day.
Back in action tomorrow are the 470 sailors Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark who lead overall and Luke Patience and Chris Grube who are in third.
Watch Nick Dempsey win his third Olympic medal at the Olympic Games on live television at 5pm tomorrow, Sunday 14 August.
Windsurfer Nick Dempsey’s gold medal quest stayed on track after another impressive display in Rio yesterday.
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