China’s Yunxiu Lu has won the gold medal in the Women’s Windsurfer – RS:X after a tense three-way battle with British and French contenders in the Medal Race.
With the Medal Race counting for double points, the gap between three athletes was negligible. Lu went into the Medal Race wearing the gold bib, holding a four-point edge over Emma Wilson (GBR), who was just two points in front of Charline Picon (FRA).
Off the start line, it was very even between the three contenders, but China was showing a small speed advantage in the light-wind, heavy-pumping conditions. Around the first mark however it was advantage France, just five seconds ahead of China with Great Britain some way behind.
At the bottom turning gate, with France and China opting for the right-hand side of the course, Britain, in seventh place, broke left.
By the top mark, Wilson had climbed up to second, and around final windward mark it was the top three contenders holding the top three places in the Medal Race. The balance of power swung back and forth on the final run to the finish, although gradually Picon worked out a lead to win the Medal Race.
There was no celebration from France, however. Great Britain crossed in second, China third. That was enough to give the gold medal to Yunxiu Lu, silver to Picon and bronze to Wilson.
Kiran Badloe claims Gold in dramatic Men’s RS:X Medal Race
Meanwhile, Kiran Badloe (NED)won the Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X gold medal with France taking silver and China bronze.
In a dramatic turn of events, Mattia Camboni (ITA), sitting in the silver medal position, made a great start and launched into an early lead. However, the Italian was unaware that he had broken the start, was disqualified and forced to leave the course. Next to go, for the same reason, was Piotr Myszka (POL), who was lying in the bronze medal position when he was pulled off the course.
This cleared the way for Thomas Goyard (FRA) to cruise around the two-lap course, the silver medal more or less secured.
However, towards the end of the first lap, Goyard was also pulled out of the race for having broken the start line early. The distraught Frenchman had to watch from the sidelines, hoping that his points advantage going into the Medal Race would be sufficient to stay in the medals.
At the front of the fleet, Yoav Cohen (ISR) was sailing a clean race, probably unaware that he was in the bronze medal position. A very precarious Bronze, however, with Kun Bi (CHN) within striking distance, due to starting on fewer points than Cohen before the Medal Race.
Israel won the Medal Race, Badloe was second, Switzerland third. Some distance back, but now up to fourth, was China, enough for Bi to take Bronze from Cohen by a point.
As for Goyard, despite his disqualification, the Frenchman held on to Silver by a single point from China.
Badloe’s gold medal makes it three Olympic RS:X Men’s titles in a row for the Netherlands, Badloe following in the footsteps of his good friend and training partner, Dorian van Rijsselberghe, who took gold in London 2012 and Rio 2016.
Andy Rice – World Sailing