Sunday, August 17, 2008

Britain wins Yngling gold at Olympic sailing

Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb, and Pippa Wilson of Great Britain celebrate after victory of the Yngling medal race at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games sailing event at Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center in Qingdao, an-Olympic co-host city in eastern China's Shandong Province, Aug. 17, 2008. The British team won the gold medal of the event.

The British team competes during the Yngling medal race at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games sailing event at Qingdao Olympic Sailing Center in Qingdao, an-Olympic co-host city in eastern China's Shandong Province, Aug. 17, 2008. The British team won the gold medal of the event.
British Yngling trio Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson snatched the first gold medal at the Olympic sailing regatta here on Sunday.

The defending Yngling champion led the keelboat class from the beginning of the medal race to round the windward mark first, a second ahead of the rest fleet, despite heavy rain on the sea.

Although they were overtaken by Germany at the third mark, they kept their composure and first crossed the finishing line, seven seconds ahead of Germany and a minute in front of the Dutch.

The British Yngling women ended up on top of the podium with 24 points overall, pocketing the first gold medal in Qingdao.

"When we crossed the line, the three of us just looked at one another. I can't describe the feeling, because you just know that you're the best in the whole world at what you do," said Ayton.

"The conditions today were quite Great Britain: big wind and big rain. We were quite prepared," she added.

"It has been a fantastic journey. It is so exciting with a little relief and, of course, loads of joy," said Webb.

Ayton and Webb won gold in 2004 Athens with Shirley Robertson, they are the two-time world champions, and they won the Olympic test event in Qingdao last year.

The silver medal went to Mandy Mulder, Annemieke Bes and Merel Witteveen from the Netherlands with 33 points overall, finishing fifth in the medal race though.

"This is my first Olympic medal. But it's a pity that we didn't beat GBR," said Bes.

Their coach Thanasis Piniaris said "we're going to Shangri-la tonight to eat the chocolate fondue. They were not allowed to eat it before they got a medal. They have worked three years for this medal."

The bronze medal was taken by Sofia Bekatorou, Sofia Papadopoulou and Virginia Kravarioti from Greece with 48 points after their third finish in the medal race.

"We made our gain today on the first downwind today. We feel great for the 10 million Greeks back home. It's wonderful," said Bekatorou.

Chinese Yngling team of Song Xiaqun, Yu Yanli and Li xiaoni also sailed their best performance today, placed 9th overall with 65 points.

"This is my first and last Olympics. If I had a chance, I would do this all over again," said Song.

Source: Xinhua

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