Goodison gets GB off to a golden morning

Click to follow
The Independent Online

No mercy, no compromise, no doubts about the ruthless tactics, Paul Goodison won Britain's third gold medal and achieved the GB team's target of four overall in the singlehanded Laser this morning.

He follows silver and gold for Britain by Ben Ainslie in 1996 and 2000, bitter disappointment for Goodison with a fourth in 2004, and, in nailing the gold this time Goodison broke the heart of Sweden's Rasmus Myrgren.

The Swede was sitting in the silver medal position going into a race in which Goodison needed only to place ninth out of 10 but he chose the Swede as his victim and that let Slovenia's Vasilij Zbogar in for silver and Italy's Diego Romero for bronze.

Myrgren ended up sixth overall but, asked if he was upset by Goodison's move, which pinned him at the back of the fleet, said afterwards: "Yes and no. Of course I didn't like it but I expected him to do it and I probably would have done something similar. But, yes, I am very, very, very disappointed."

Goodison, a 30-year old from Rotherham who had to recover from major wrist surgery following a tumble from a bicycle last autumn, said: "I picked Rasmus because he was the only one who could beat me." And asked if there was anything he wanted to say to the Swede he replied: "Not really. That's what sport's about. You have to do what you have to do.

"It's been a long four years of waiting but it's finally over. I couldn't be smiling any harder. There was a job to be done and I went out there and delivered."

In the Laser Radial, Penny Clark, the Lieutenant-Commander engineer in the Royal Navy, had a mixed regatta throughout. She made the final cut, but a seventh in the medal race still left her 10th overall. And if Britain thought it could sneak a share of the gold because Anna Tunnicliffe was born in Doncaster, she was nothing other than loyal to the United States, where she is a naturalised citizen and has renounced British citizenship.

Tomorrow it is the turn of the windsurfers and, in the men's division there is a three-way tie at the top with Julien Bontemps of France on 45 points chased by Nick Dempsey of Britain and Tom Ashley of New Zealand, both on 46. It is a genuine winner takes all and is exactly what the organisers wanted when they introduced, for the first time at this Games, the concept of a medal race finale.

"It's hard enough to defend on a windsurfer as it is," said Dempsey. "I've just got to sail my own race, so it's really a case of keeping it tight."

In the women's division, a second today put Bryony Shaw in third.

Wearing a Blue Peter badge as a lucky charm, a present after teaching presenter Zoe to windsurf, she said: "I've given myself a great chance going into the medal race. There's no reason, with the momentum I've got now, that I can't give it my best shot. It's the other girls, the Chinese (Jian Yin) and the Italian (2000 gold medallist Alessandra Sensini) who are looking over their shoulders."

Shaw, who comes from Portland, site of the 2012 Games, added: "I had a rough time in the middle of the regatta and I had to pick myself up from that."

Praising both her coach, Dom Tidey, and the whole GB team around her, she said: I feel like this last few days have given me great confidence and great momentum. The smile's back on my face, but it's case of getting the job done."

Stuart Alexander caught up with sailing gold medallist Ben Ainslie. Click here to listen