Ainslie's gold hopes fading fast

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The Independent Online

The maths says it is possible for Ben Ainslie to win another gold medal at the Skandia Sail for Gold Olympic regatta in Weymouth - but do not bet the ranch.

The reigning Olympic champion is second going into Saturday’s double points scoring medal race, but the man ahead of him, the 23-year old Giles Scott, has a lead of 16-plus points.

Britain will be represented in all the top 10-boat fleets for the medals except the women’s Laser and Olympic manager, Stephen Park, commented: “We are on track, if a little disappointed in one or two classes, where we haven’t shown our potential. Overall it looks good, but we have seen an increase in the competitiveness of countries like Australia, France, Spain and the Netherlands.”

Such is the strength of Britain’s Olympic squad in this singlehander class that Ed Wright is fifth and just seven points separate Ainslie in second from New Zealand’s Dan Slater in sixth. “Considering how little time I have had to prepare, I am really happy,” said Ainslie.

It’s neck and neck at the top of the men’s windsurfers with Nick Dempsey, second on countback but equal on points with France ’s Julien Bontemps in the race for gold.

A double battle was set up in the Laser class when current gold medallist Paul Goodison finished with a third and a first to go into the final second by eight points to Australia ’s Tom Slingsby while Nick Thompson in fourth is just two points behind third-placed Michael Leigh of Canada .

In the 49er, Australia’s Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen will be difficult to catch, but the silver is wide open with Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes level-pegging with Chris Draper and Pete Greenhalgh in third and fourth.

In the same positions but a with a gap, are Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell ahead of Nic Asher and Eliot Willis in the 470 dinghy. Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes are in contention for a medal in the women’s fleet.

Another reigning gold medallist pair, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson, have made it into the Star class top 10, but are out of medal contention.

Going out in the quarter final of the women’s match racing were Lucy Macgregor, her sister Kate and Annie Lush after a really hard fought 2-3 battle against Anna Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer and Deborah Capozzi of the United States.

Medals were already being decided in the paralympic classes, silver in the three-person Sonar going to John Robertson, Hannah Stoadel and Steve Thomas behind Udo Hessels, Mischa Rossen and Marcel van de Veen of the Netherlands.

In the doublehanded Skud, it was silver, too, for Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell behind Daniel Fitzgibbon and Rachael Cox of Australia