Britain's sailors end on high but medals out of reach
The 2004 Paralympic Games have drawn to a close for the Team GB sailors as they completed their final day of competition yesterday.
Both classes finished on a high and scored some of their best results of the event. John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas finished third in the final race of the event in the Sonar class, which resulted in them finishing in sixth place overall, just behind the Australian team.
Robertson commented: “It has been a tough week and our scores have been really up and down. We are disappointed as we hoped to medal at this event but in the end I think we tried too hard and the nerves got the better of us.” He continued, “We will now enjoy a little bit of time off and all of us are keen to get back in a boat at the beginning of next year and start training for Beijing.”
After nine races, Dror Cohen, Arnon Efrati and Benni Vexler of Israel sailed a great regatta and scored just one result out of the top four, to win gold by nine points from the Dutch team of Udo Hessels, Macel Van De Veen and Mischa Rossen. A tenth place in the final race saw the American team of John Ross-Duggan, Jean Paul Creignon and Bradley Johnson sneak onto the podium to win the bronze medal.
Allan Smith scored his best result of the week on the final day in the 2.4mR class. A second place saw him finish the event in eighth place overall. Young French sailor Damien Seguin sailed a consistent regatta and managed to keep on top of his nerves going into the final race, a fourth place saw him win gold from Thomas Brown of America, who could only manage a tenth place in the final race. The Dutch team added a bronze medal to the silver already won in the Sonar class with Thierry Schmitter scoring a fifth place in the final race to ensure his place on the podium.
Paralympic Sailing Team Leader and RYA Team GBR Sonar coach Mark Barron commented: “It was good to go out on a high with two positive races today. It has been a really tricky week and we are disappointed that we didn’t medal as we did everything we could with regards to preparation in the build up to the Games. I think in the end it was down to experience and it was both teams first time at the Paralympic Games, hopefully it has been a great learning experience and I know the Sonar team has certainly got their sites on Beijing.”
1, Dror Cohen/Arnon Efrati/Benni Vexler, ISR (1,(DSQ),4,1,4,4,3,1,1) 19 pts
2, Udo Hessels/Macel Van De Veen/Mischa Rossen, NED ((6),4,5,4,2,3,2,2,6) 28 pts
3, John Ross-Duggan/Jean Paul Creignon/Bradley Johnson, USA (3,1,3,6,6,6,7,5,(10)) 37 pts
6, John Robertson/Stephen Thomas/Hannah Stodel (11,2,9,(OCS),1,10,9,4,3) 49 pts
1, Damien Seguin, FRA (1,1,4,5,1,(6),3,2,4) 21 pts
2, Thomas Brown, USA (4,2,1,1,5,5,1,3,(10)) 22 pts
3, Thierry Schmitter, NED (3,3,2,(6),3,4,4,1,5) 25 pts
8, Allan Smith (9,10,7,7,4,8,(12),2) 54 pts