• London 2012 - Sailing

Double sailing silver for Great Britain

ESPN staff
August 10, 2012 « London Olympics 2012 LIVE! | Chartbeat test »
Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell worked hard for silver © PA Photos
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Great Britain's Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell claimed sailing silver in the 470 medal race after a tactical battle on Friday.

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Patience and Bithell went into the final race knowing they needed to finish ahead of Australia, with at least one other boat in between them. In the end, they did have a boat separating them from the Australians, but it was the wrong way with Australia second and Britain fourth.

Nevertheless, silver represents a significant achievement for Patience and Bithell, who did their best to interrupt the wind of their rivals in a fascinating race.

Australia sped ahead on the downwind leg, leaving Patience and Bithell to fight to get back on terms. They did close the gap with some aggressive sailing, but their challenge effectively ended when they fell behind Argentina.

Croatia led and eventually won the race with Australia in second, and Britain's desperation landed them a penalty for illegal pumping late in the race.

"We tried it. We got the better of them at the start and managed to sneak ahead but we were kind of hoping the fleet would be there to hold them up," Bithell told the BBC. "They sailed a fantastic race, we tried to attack them when we could but they held their nerve and they're worthy champions."

Patience added: "It's just so good. It's been three or four years of hard work together and 15 years in our heads and we're on the Olympic podium. It's not gold but we're young boys and there's plenty of time."

It was a similar story for Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark, who simply needed to finish ahead of New Zealand to win gold. However, the British pair attacked the wrong side of the course early and then the wind completely died, making a fightback impossible as they settled for silver.

Britain's Ed McKeever looks a genuine gold medal hope in the men's K1 200m, qualifying second-fastest for the final. However, it was bad news for Richard Jefferies as he crashed out of the canoe single C1 200m semi-finals, finishing sixth.

Jess Walker fared better in the women's kayak single K1 200m, booking her place in the final, while the partnership of Jon Schofield and Liam Heath looked strong en route to the men's kayak double K2 200m final.

Great Britain's synchronised swimmers missed out on a medal but finished a creditable sixth in the final in the Aquatics Centre. Russia, who have won every duet and team gold since Sydney 2000, continued their dominance of the sport, scoring 98.93 in their free routine to add to their top-scoring mark in technical round to take the title with a total of 197.03 points, while China pipped Spain to silver.

Meanwhile, Britain's rhythmic gymnasts failed to reach the final of the all round group competition, with their score of 48.000 after two days of competition only good enough for 12th.

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