Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell kickstarted a potential Team GB sailing medal rush on Tuesday with a stunningly close-fought gold medal win in the men’s 49er FX.
New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke had a four-point lead over the British duo while Spain were level on points going into the double-point medal race. In a tightly fought finale, Fletcher and Bithell led from the off but a three-way fight with New Zealand and Germany took the race right to the line.
A lack of wind on Monday had forced a postponement of the medal race in Enoshima Harbour but there was no stopping Fletcher and Bithell, who aggressively took control of the race early on, determined to do their bit regardless of what was going on behind them.
In the end it was achingly tight and the British pair, ranked No 1 世界中, crossed the line just ahead of the Germans, with New Zealand crossing in third. With the four-point gap closed, GB won gold based on having finished ahead of their rivals in the final race. Germany finished in the bronze medal position following their second-place finish.
Fletcher and Bithell competed against each other for a place in the 49er class at Rio 2016, with Fletcher beating his rival and going on to finish sixth overall in Brazil. They joined forces later that year and started the day in second place after 12 レース. In the end they secured top-five finishes in seven of their 13 races on the way to gold.
The medal was a huge boost to Team GB on a big day of sailing after Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey failed to climb into a medal position having finished 14th in their women’s 49er FX medal race. After winning their first two races things fell apart as they between 13th and 16th in races seven to 10. They finished sixth overall.
Emma Wilson won the team’s first sailing medal on Saturday with bronze in the women’s windsurfing.