September 17, 2021

Tokyo Olympics: Team GB's Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre win sailing gold medal in women's 470 class

August 04, 2021

Team GB's Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre have won a sailing gold medal in the women's 470 class.

Mills, 33, becomes Britain's most successful female Olympic sailor ever - adding this gold medal to her gold in Rio and her silver in London.

Cardiff-born Mills and 27-year-old McIntyre - who made her debut at the Tokyo Games - jumped into the water to celebrate their Olympic title.

However, the pair faced a nervous wait for their gold medal to be confirmed after France lodged a protest against Great Britain on completion of the race.

Mills and McIntyre had dominated the regatta at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour, winning two races and only twice finishing outside the top four, and they went into the medal race with a 14-point lead.

That meant they only needed to finish in the top seven to clinch gold and they were never in any danger, crossing the line comfortably in fifth.

The protest was dismissed by a jury which confirmed GB in the top spot, followed by Poland in silver medal position and France taking bronze.

Mills told the BBC: "It's massive. Its been one of the hardest weeks of my life. I'm sure for Eilidh as well. Just every day feeling sick, not being able to eat, just nerves building up and the emotion of 'we've done it', so we've done what we came here to do."

McIntyre follows in the footsteps of her father Mike - the gold medallist in the Star class at the Seoul Games in 1988.

She said: "I've wanted this my entire life, with my dad's (gold medal) - it's such an amazing feeling and I can't wait to have it."

The pair secured Great Britain's 14th gold so far of this year's Games and built on Team GB's sailing success seen on the waters of Enoshima on Tuesday.

Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell won gold in the 49ers, quickly followed by Giles Scott who took the Olympic title in the Finn class.

Then, John Gimson and Anna Burnet won the silver medal in the mixed Nacra 17 class.

The four medals is the country's second best Olympic tally after Beijing in 2008, when they won six sailing medals, including four golds.

Mills' mother Caroline told the PA news agency: "It means everything to her, it has been her life and her world since she was 11.

"You could see it in her reaction when she found out about the protest, she was distraught beyond words."

McIntyre's fiance Jonny Forer, from Old Portsmouth, said: "It's absolutely amazing, it's such a moment for her, it's always been her dream. I'm so proud of her.

"It was spoilt a bit at the end by the French and their protest but Hannah and Eilidh were vindicated."

Earlier, there was disappointment for Britons Luke Patience and Chris Grube, who missed out on a medal in the men's 470.

There were high hopes for the pair who were sitting second after eight races but dropped to fifth ahead of the medal race and that was where they finished after crossing the line in seventh.

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