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Tokyo 2020: Great Britain and Italy take home gold

by 49er & Nacra 17 Sailing 3 Aug 23:37 NZST 28 July - 4 August 2021
Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell (GBR) take gold in 49er. © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell become the first British team to win 49er gold, and in the process knock Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) from their perch atop the sailing world.

The medal race was a tense and intense race from start to finish, with all of the protagonist teams sailing well and going head to head for the medals. As the race progressed the Kiwi leaders heading into the race were no longer in control of their fate. They watched from third place as it came down to whether the British pair could overtake Eric Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) to put a boat between themselves and the New Zealanders.

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Grael and Kunze (BRA) repeat gold with courage and smarts

The Brazilian 49erFX Champions repeated their Rio performance after beating their challengers in another incredibly tight medal race. Sailing as always with courage, guts, and smarts, Grael and Kunze (BRA) worked hard to win the boat end of the start line, got the first shift, consolidated over the top of their challengers, and then extended forward cleanly with win comfortably in the end.

The Brazilians were tied on points heading into the final race with Annemiek Bekkering with Annette Duetz (NED) who continued to sail to their strengths by winning the pin end. Unfortunately for the Dutch, they didn't have as clean a start as they would have liked and were blocked from a perfect lane by Norway and Argentina who went on to win and place second in the race.

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Tita and Banti (ITA) pure class to victory in Nacra 17

Ruggero Tita with Caterina Banti (ITA) completed their win in the Nacra 17 in a no-nonsense and straightforward fashion to claim a clear victory in Tokyo 2020. They went into the medal race 12 points ahead of John Gimson with Anna Burnett (GBR) and then stayed very close to the British the whole way around the medal race to ensure they could not be passed overall.

With every tool in their arsenal, from starting to boat speed to boat handling, they took a safe start and a safe approach to win their first Olympic medals convincingly. Tita is a converted 49er sailor and Banti is a converted Radial sailor. Together they were strong from the start of the quadrennial, winning the first major foiling regatta, the 2017 European Championship, and now have won the last regatta of the 2020 Quadrennial as well.

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