There were tears of joy and anguish on the boat park on the fifth day of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition as Kiran Badloe (NED) put one hand on the Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X gold medal.
Ahead of the Men’s RS:X Medal Race on Saturday, Badloe has a significant advantage in the men’s fleet and in the women’s, the Chinese, British and French sailors are certain of a medal each.
It was another day of good breeze in Enoshima, not quite as strong as Big Wednesday but sufficient for the trapeze sailors to be fully stretched and planing downwind. Some sailors scored double wins in their races, while for others today was the moment when their hopes of a medal in Tokyo flickered away.
Men’s Windsurfer – RS:X
Kiran Badloe (NED) has a lead of 19 points ahead of the Medal Race and just has to finish Saturday’s Medal Race, avoiding disqualification, to secure gold.
With a fifth in the first race of the day, the Dutchman bulleted the next races, and as he crossed the line he started to celebrate with his coach Aaron McIntosh, winner of a windsurfing bronze medal for New Zealand back in Sydney 2000.
“This is this the highlight of my career so far,” said the man with the blue arrow shaved into his hair. “I’ve won the last three world championships, but there is always something special about that Olympics. We had a tough selection criteria, battling with Dorian [van Rijsselberghe, the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Champion]. This is the cherry on the cake, it’s very special.”
Saturday’s Medal Race for bronze and silver is going to be intense. A race win and a good all-round day for Thomas Goyard puts the Frenchman in second overall, but only two points ahead of Mattia Camboni of Italy, with Poland’s Piotr Myszka also in close contention.
Women’s Windsurfer – RS:X
The top three athletes in the RS:X Women have broken away from the rest of the pack sufficiently to know that they’ve won a medal. Now it’s a question of which colour. China’s Yunxiu Lu started the regatta stutteringly but has got better and better. Today’s scores of 2,3,2 have put China in the lead with a four-point margin over Great Britain’s Emma Wilson. Just two points behind her is Charline Picon from France.
With China holding a minor points advantage, Picon might have been tempted to focus on the battle with Britain for silver. Not a chance of it. “Six points to the lead? No, I’m going for the gold,” said the reigning Olympic Champion.
Words by Andy Rice – World Sailing
Photography by Sailing Energy / World Sailing
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