A delighted Bryony Shaw has hailed her consistency and resilience as she claimed an emotional silver medal at the RS:X Windsurfing World Championships in Eilat, Israel, on Saturday (27 February).
The world number one improved on her overnight position of fourth in the closely-fought double points medal race to claim her second consecutive World Championship silver, and maintain a confident run of form with just over five months to go to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
The 32-year-old had patiently worked her way up the leaderboard during the four previous days of fleet racing at the Red Sea venue to set up a tight battle with Dutch sailor Lilian de Geus and Poland’s Zofia Noceti-Klepacka going into the final day of competition, with eventual gold medallist Malgorzata Bialecka of Poland enjoying a comfortable lead ahead of the group.
Shaw finished the 10-boat medal race in third, and with de Geus behind her in fourth and Noceti-Klepacka fifth, the Beijing bronze medallist was relieved and delighted to claim the second step of the podium.
“I was so pleased to cross that finish line of the medal race! It’s been a really tough week in terms of nerves,” Shaw explained.
“I just tried to stay solid all week, which has been really tricky. It’s been so shifty, you’d get puffs coming and people coming through who had been dead last all the way through to the front of the fleet again and vice versa. It was never over until it was really over and the medal race proved that. There was this puff on the last downwind and I was desperately trying to defend third place in the race and stay ahead of the Dutch girl and the Polish girl. They were the two girls who managed to get that patch of breeze and were planing fast towards me!
“It really wasn’t over until I crossed that finish line and then it sunk in. I started whooping and yelling, I jumped in the water and was crying! It was very emotional and all the nerves spilled out!”
Shaw believes she has developed solid and consistent all-round ability which she hopes will stand her in good stead as she prepares for the challenging sailing conditions of Rio.
“The last two World Championships we’ve had have been so light and physical,” she recalled.
“I can hang in there with the best of the light wind specialists but still know that if there’s a day of breeze or if it’s a day where it’s a little bit more about board speed then I can hang in with the fast girls as well. That’s where I take my confidence from.
“Whatever wind blows I can perform and as long as I can keep a clear head and make good decisions based on all the visual cues around me, then I feel like I can go into Rio with a good chance of medalling.”
Nick Dempsey was denied a British podium double in the dying moments of the men’s finale, dropping from his silver medal position at the start of the day to fourth overall as shifty and testing medal race conditions saw him miss out on the final run.
The Olympic silver and bronze medallist, who finished seventh in the medal race, had enjoyed a strong World Championship performance to remain in contention for the medals going into the final day, and records his best Worlds result since his title-winning effort in 2013.
“It's only sport but I have found myself so invested in doing well this week that to fail hurts all the more,” Dempsey commented.
“Although gutted to finish fourth I genuinely feel ready to win again. Six months out from the Games things are coming together.”
Poland secured a golden double at the Championships, with Piotr Myszka taking gold in the men’s fleet in addition to Bialecka’s victory in the women’s event.
Elsewhere in the women’s fleet, the British Sailing Team’s Emma Wilson, silver medallist at the 2015 Youth Worlds, finished 25th and Izzy Hamilton 34th, while Kieran Martin and Tom Squires finished 14th and 20th respectively in the men’s fleet.
At the 470 World Championships in San Isidro, Argentina, a late surge by Luke Patience and Chris Grube saw them break into the top ten in time for Saturday’s medal race, qualifying for the 10-boat final in eighth place.
The duo sailed a solid medal race to cross the line third and elevate them to their highest feasible finish of fifth overall. Gold went to Croatia’s Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic.
2012 silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark resolved to bounce back after a tough week saw them finish in 15th place, having improved from 33rd after the opening day where they picked up a starting penalty disqualification in the first race of the regatta.
Commenting on their Facebook page
, they said: “I am sure we will look back and think how lucky we are to have made the mistakes at this time and to have had the chance to learn and make the necessary improvements.”
Podium Potential duo Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter finished their regatta in 17th.
The British Sailing Team will be in further major regatta action from Sunday when the Laser and Laser Radial European Championships get underway in Gran Canaria (28 February-4 March).
World Champion Nick Thompson is among the 132-strong entry in the Laser event, and British Olympian and world number six Alison Young is in the 105 women’s line-up to contest the Laser Radial event.
Full RS:X and 470 Worlds results are available at http://www.rsxclass.com/worlds2016/ and http://2016worlds.470.org
For news and British Sailing Team updates from both events visit us at www.britishsailingteam.com
or on Twitter @BritishSailing.