Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson 'devastated' after being cruelly denied at the last in Weymouth

 

Weymouth

After the depredations of its oarsmen, the host nation had hoped to give new lustre to its maritime heritage by taking both the first gold medals at the regatta in Weymouth yesterday. But they have been doing this kind of thing for a fair while in Scandinavia, too, as Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson were reminded in a heart-breaking denouement to the Star series.

Eight points clear of Brazil entering the medal race, the Beijing champions needed only a top-four finish to guarantee gold. But while they soon had their main rivals under control, they were set an unnerving new challenge as Sweden, third at the start of proceedings, separated at the start and bolted into a carefree lead.

Even then, sixth would have been enough for Percy and Simpson, and they were still fifth at the final mark.

Suddenly, however, the cheering spectators on the Nothe began to wonder whether the home boat might pay for what seemed a conservative strategy.

As it happens, their own convenience was probably as much to blame, the course having been laid out in the lee of the peninsula. Either way, they looked on aghast as Percy and Simpson slipped to eighth in the final yards.

Initially uncertain as to their fate, Percy hung his head in his hands as their doom was officially confirmed.

Both men seemed exasperated that so momentous a race had been staged with such fitful traction. "We had to sail in ridiculous conditions at the end," Percy said. Primarily, though, they were aggrieved to have disappointed such an enthusiastic crowd.

"We're hurting so much inside but getting those roars from the crowd is about the only thing which can put a smile back on my face," Percy said. "It was really sweet. They were so kind. We felt we had let everyone down. It does feel devastating right now. We got it wrong.

"It is gutting but we sailed well all week. In hindsight, we made too many mistakes in terms of reading the wind-shift. We have to take it on the chin.

"There's a big luck element. We can't blame anyone but ourselves, but at the same time we were really proud."

Sweden's Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen, having endured a similar ambush in Beijing, claimed redress with due alacrity. "We knew the other guys were under more pressure and stress than us," Loof said. "So we really had nothing to lose."

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project