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Sailing: Mills and Clark claim silver
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark have won the silver medal in the Women’s 470 at Weymouth and Portland this afternoon, giving Great Britain its fifth sailing medal of London 2012.
The medal is an Olympic first for the pair with Mills making her Olympic debut at these Games and Clark having finished sixth at Beijing 2008.
The girls went into the medal race guaranteed at least silver if they could simply sail a clean race and not get disqualified. However as they were tied neck-and-neck at the top of the leaderboard on 33 points with Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie of New Zealand gold was still within their grasp.
Mills and Clark appeared to get the better start of the two boats as they slipped out towards the left of the course, but although they were slower off the startline, the Kiwis were able to tack away to the right, get clear air and take advantage of a big wind shift. With the Brits caught in a pack, Mills and Clark weren’t able to turn and try to follow the Kiwis over to the favoured side of the course.
In ever-lightening breeze the Brits ended up stranded on the left-hand side of the course hoping the wind would shift in their favour but that shift never came and as New Zealand managed to extend their lead throughout the race, Mills and Clark were left trying to pick their way through the fleet in the hope that what little wind there was may still swing in their favour.
A shortening of the course did little to boost the Brits’ chances of turning things around and with New Zealand winning the race it was silver for Great Britain.
Speaking immediately after the race, Clark said: “We just feel a bit gutted at the moment; we didn’t even put a good show on really (…) Halfway up the beat we knew the gold medal was gone from us.”
Mills added: “We felt like the left had better breeze, which is why we wanted to get the left, but a 20 degree right wind shift came in, the wind died and that was game over.
“We’re pretty gutted to be honest but we’ve had a wicked 18 months together. Sas is amazing and we’ve had a great time.”
Sophia Smith, Sportsister
The Women’s Sport Magazine