Ben Ainslie escapes penalty after jumping aboard television boat


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The Independent Online

Britain’s top prospect for Olympic sailing glory has come through unscathed following an official inquiry into his disqualification from a world championship regatta in Australia in December.

Ben Ainslie, the reigning gold medallist in the Finn singlehanded dinghy, was thrown out of the final after jumping aboard a television boat to complain about being impeded on the race course. The matter was also referred to his national governing body, the Royal Yachting Association. 

A tribunal agreed with the decision of the international jury that Ainslie’s behaviour amounted to a gross breach of good manners and conduct that brought the sport into disrepute but said it was satisfied that it would not be appropriate to impose a penalty over and above the disqualification.

The tribunal criticised “an apparent lack of active management of media boats at this and previous events leading to repeated infringements of the provisions of the event media boat guidelines.”

Said Ainslie:"I welcome the RYA Tribunal's decision and am looking forward to fully focussing on my Olympic preparations. I deeply regret the incident, but would like to thank all the governing bodies involved for their thorough investigation."

Britain’s Olympic sailing manager Stephen Park added:

"The Tribunal report will now go to (world governing body) the International Sailing Federation as is standard practice.”

Ainslie is bidding for his fourth consecutive Olympic gold – he also won a silver in 1996 – which would make him the most successful Olympic sailor of all time.