Delay to men's 470 medal race may play into Team GB's hands

 

Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell believe the delay to the men's 470 medal race could work in their favour and also sets up what may prove to be a “golden day” for Great Britain.

The British pair are mathematically assured of at least a silver medal, having amassed a large enough points margin heading into the medal race to be sure that the third-placed crew, Argentina, could not catch them.

Patience and Bithell, though, still have eyes on gold, which they are aiming to wrestle off Australia's Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page in a medal race that was slated for 1pm this afternoon.

Light winds means it will now take place tomorrow at midday - a delay the British pair believe will help their quest for the top podium position.

"I think it puts the ball in our court a little bit if we wait a bit longer," Patience said.

"As we said the whole time, we have no pressure. It is win-win and I imagine if the Aussies are feeling anything, it is more discomfort than we are.

"The longer it draws out maybe it is a good thing for us and a worse thing for them.

"I am speculating here but it certainly isn't a problem for me and Stuart.

"Stuart was just saying earlier, this is our home. We have lived here for five years and we'll live here again once this is over. It is no skin off our back."

Patience revealed they had not expected to make it out today after seeing the weather forecast, but Bithell anticipates being out on the water tomorrow.

"With the high pressure and thermals, it is hard to predict exactly what is going to happen but I do believe tomorrow is much better," he said.

"We'll go through the routine and process again. We'll wake up expecting to race like we did this morning and hopefully the race officer will get it racing for us.

"We've got nowhere to be, though. We've been in our athlete container out of the sun today actually watching some of the Olympics on TV.

"We've been just switching off, keeping fresh and being ready to get that Nespresso down our necks and hit the racing hard."

The delay sets up what could be a superb day for British sailing.

Patience and Bithell will vie to top the podium at midday, before Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark look to take top honours in the women's 470 an hour later.

They too are assured of silver as long as they are not disqualified or black flagged in the medal race, which they enter level at the top of the standings alongside New Zealand's Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie.

"It could be a golden day for GB," Bithell said of tomorrow, with Patience adding: "That's what everyone is hoping."

Aside from the men's 470 medal race, the only other racing scheduled for today was the Elliott 6m women's match racing sail-off for fifth to eighth.

The racing, which would have included the Lucy Macgregor-skippered British team, has been cancelled completely because Friday is set aside for the semi-finals.

PA

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