Helena Lucas just relieved that Team GB broke sailing duck
HELENA LUCAS could not hide her relief after securing Paralympic gold on a historic day for British sailing.
Team GB is the most successful nation in Olympic sailing history but, somewhat surprisingly, their Paralympic counterparts came into London 2012 without a medal since the sport’s introduction 12 years ago.
However, that barren spell was ended yesterday as, with the final race of the series cancelled due to a lack of wind, medals were awarded on the standings after the opening ten races.
As a result, Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell took SKUD bronze and Lucas won gold in the 2.4mR class after a week of domination from the only woman in the 16-boat fleet.
“Oh gosh, at the moment it is just a sense of relief,” Lucas said. “A lot of years have gone into this and finally, finally I have done it.
“I am obviously immensely happy and I just want to say a massive thank-you to everyone that has supported me.
“I’m really pleased to be taking a medal home with me. It will be nice to show the friends and family what a Paralympic medal looks like, which we failed to do in China,” said Birrell.
Rickham added: “For the team it’s a huge thing. They’ve put a lot of time and effort into us to get here and for us it’s a somewhat quelled pang after Beijing.
With medals in the 2.4mR and SKUD classes, Great Britain only missed out on the podium in the Sonar as the cancellation of race 11 put paid to their hopes. John Robertson, Stephen Thomas and Hannah Stodel would have won bronze had they not received a four-point penalty last night for a rule infringement, which dropped them down to fifth overall.
After a request to re-open the case was rejected overnight, the British team saw a further protest against the international jury fail yesterday.
Norway took bronze instead of the British trio, while silver went to Germany and gold to the indomitable Dutch team of Udo Hessels, Marcel van de Veen and Mischa Rossen.
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Thursday 23 May 2013
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