Dream comes true for Ed Wright in San Francisco

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The Independent Online

The dream came true on San Francisco Bay for 32-year old Ed Wright with a tour de force win of the Gold Cup world championship in the heavyweight Olympic singlehander, the Finn.

He swept to victory and a gold medal by winning the final race in what has been a windy week, leaving the others to squabble over the second and third places.

“It is just amazing, I am so happy,” he said. “I went to such a lot of effort for this event. I pulled out all the stops. This is definitely the biggest thing that has happened to me in my sailing career and I want to go on and win it again in Perth next year.”

It leaves the UK Olympic squad managers with the most welcome of problems, especially as the world championships of sailing in Perth will surely be a decider in picking the sole UK representative in the class for the 2012 games. With four spots in the top 10 medal race decider, that makes Skandia Team GBR the envy of rivals around the world.

With two men on the podium, as Giles Scott took third, and the pressure coming from below in the shape of seventh-placed Andrew Mills and ninth-placed Mark Andrews, there is even time to take a quick look for the Games in Rio in 2016.

And then there is Ben Ainslie. The current back-to-back Olympic champion was not in California, choosing instead to skipper Team Origin at a match-racing event in Switzerland. Ainslie needs to know what is happening in the America’s Cup, with an announcement in Valencia on Monday 13 September. And he failed to win a major regatta in the Finn for the first time in six years last month at the Skandia Sail for Gold Olympic classes regatta in Weymouth last month.

But Ainslie is the most feared competitor in the Olympic world and, providing his back holds out and the diaries can be reconciled, he wants a fourth Olympic gold on his home waters in 2012.

Less to celebrate in St. Moritz as double former world match race champion Ian Williams just failed to make a 2010 breakthrough. Having made it to the semi-finals by topping the round robin stages and went on to win his place in the final by beating New Zealand’s Adam Minoprio.

But, despite winning the first race against current champion Richard Mathieu of France, he lost the next two and Richard not only secured his ‘King of the Mountains’ title but his place at the top of the 2010 table.

Williams’ rival Brit Ainslie, coming off a win at the last World Match Race Tour event in Marstrand, Sweden, lost to his semi-final to Richard. Then, in a sudden death decider, he went down to Minoprio, the Kiwi keeping his hand in before moving full time to Team New Zealand’s Volvo round the world race campaign wearing the Spanish colours of Camper.

Back home, on Hayling Bay, the final pair of races in the Laser World Championship, the lighter of the two Olympic singlehanders, were staged in continuing breezy conditions with the Australian Tom Slingsby surviving a capsize to win at almost a trot.

There was a silver medal for the 23-year old Giles Scott but, despite all the effort, the defending champion and Britain’s 2008 Olympic gold medallist, Paul Goodison, could only manage ninth after a handful of horror shows earlier in the week.