Ben Ainslie is confident of securing a sailing gold

 

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The Independent Online

Ben Ainslie remains confident of securing a fourth Olympic gold medal despite faltering once again on a day when the British sailing team were hit by news that Paul Goodison's regatta could be in jeopardy.

Ainslie came to London 2012 as overriding favourite to top the podium, but he has yet to overcome Jonas Hogh-Christensen in the Finn class.

The Dane has palmed off the reigning champion for six successive races now, getting a bullet - a sailing term for a victory - this afternoon before holding off the home favourite to finish second ahead of him in the day's final race.

Hogh-Christensen boasts a 10-point cushion over second-place Ainslie, who is determined to come back strongly after tomorrow's rest day.

"Yesterday I was really frustrated, but today was much better," Ainslie said.

"I was in the game but at some point I need to start getting some points back.

"He is sailing really well. He is certainly having the regatta of his life at the moment so all credit to him.

"All I can do is the best I can right now and hope that if I keep pushing hard, he might slip up along the way.

"He is sailing really well. At some point the tables have got to turn."

Such effort, though, might not be enough for fellow British gold medallist Goodison.

The Yorkshireman endured a poor start to his Laser campaign yesterday, ending 17th overall after placing 10th and 23rd.

Goodison revealed the latter performance was due to a back injury that required attention in order for him to compete in races three and four.

The 34-year-old finished 16th and then an impressive second this afternoon, but admits the pain is seriously hampering his performance.

"It's pretty sore, to be honest," Goodison said with tears in his eyes. "It was just at the start of race two yesterday.

"We rushed off as quick as we could to get fixed up by the physio. Last night I could barely bend down.

"They did a fantastic job but the problem is when you're in so much pain, trying to focus and make good decision is difficult.

"This affected me again today. The body is in a lot of pain and you can push through that and fire forward to a certain degree, but when the pain is affecting your decision-making it is very difficult."

Asked if he was worried his regatta was in danger, he said: "Yeah, for sure. I am worried my body is in a lot of trouble and until that is fixed you can't fire on all cylinders.

"Unless you deliver your very best it is going to be very hard to win. I've just got to keep ticking away and give myself the chance to do it if I get better later on."

There was better news for the only other returning British gold medallists from Beijing, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson.

The Star duo are reigning supreme on home waters and sit four points clear of nearest rivals Brazil heading into tomorrow's rest day.

Percy and Simpson easily won their first race this afternoon ahead of Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada, who went on to win the final race ahead of the Brits.

"It was an all right day today," Simpson said. "There were tricky conditions again, annoyingly tricky.

"We got okay results so we are happy about that."

British team-mate - and Olympic debutant - Ali Young can also be more than satisfied, having secured two second-place finishes in the Laser Radial class.

Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes were frustrated in the 49ers, having recovered from a difficult first day to come third in race three. They were well placed in the second race, too, only to capsize and sail home 18th.

Elsewhere, today saw the RS:X classes get under way and Nick Dempsey start the men's division solidly, hauling himself up the fleet in both races to post a fifth and seventh.

In the corresponding women's event, Beijing bronze medallist Bryony Shaw ended her first day at London 2012 with a seventh and a sixth.

Finally, the women's match racing team secured round-robin victories against Finland and France.

PA

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