Team GB's Percy and Simpson heartbroken after being denied gold


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The Independent Online

Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson were left heartbroken today as their attempt to win another gold for Team GB stumbled at the last 300 metres of the Star class sailing.

The British sailors had been out in front throughout the qualifying stages and looked set to successfully defend their Beijing gold off the coast of Weymouth. But a last minute dash by the Swedish team dashed their hopes and pushed the two Brits into second place in the final league table.

Britain, Sweden and Brazil all began the race with guaranteed medal positions. The final would simply decide which coulor would go to which team. For most of today's final it looked like the pair would win a top place on the podium. They had racked up an impressive three wins and four second places over the course of the week giving them a comfortable points cushion going into the final race.

All they had to do was beat Brazil and - if the Swedes won - they had to remain above sixth place. Throughout the course they jostled with Brazil's skipper Robert Schedit for fifth and sixth place while the Swedes battled New Zealand for the lead eventually coming in first. As Percy and Simpson came in for the final leg of the race they plummeted to eighth with their Brazilian rivals finishing one place ahead.

Neither Percy nor Simpson have attracted the same kind of media attention that Ainslie has drawn throughout his career but they are phenomenal medal winning sailors in their own right. Both are veteran competitors and long term stalwarts of Britain's sailing team. The pair came to London 2012 as defending Olympic champions in their Star class having stormed ahead of their opponents in Beijing. Percy had also previously won gold in the Finn class at Athens before Ainslie had even begun competing in the class. He now boasts three Olympic medals – two gold and one silver – to his name.

Speaking after the race Percy said: "It feels cruel, we just got it wrong and it's pretty gutting. We sailed well all week and feel robbed to be honest but we have to take it on the chin."