Shaw digs deep for bronze but Dempsey falls short

The medal charge by Britain's sailors tripped up today, but not before Bryony Shaw had lifted the tally to five when winning a hard-fought bronze in a windsurfer class in which the host country won its first ever sailing gold medal.

Nick Dempsey, who already has bronze from Athens, was expected at least to follow suit and was in a position to win gold. But, in a race that was over too quickly for him to recover, he posted a seventh and finished a hugely disappointing fourth overall. A fifth in the final race would have given him a second medal.

"I'm really happy that I did my best," said the 25-year old Shaw, who is already determined to bid for a second crack in four years on waters which are home for parents Brian and Hazel. "The colour of my medal was determined by the way the other girls sailed."

The race was eventually won by the 38-year old Italian Alessandra Sensini, who added the silver to the gold she won in 2000 and bronzes in both 1996 and 2004. She has more sailing medals than any woman in history. But nothing was going to stop the classically-featured Jian Yin, silver in 2004, whose third was enough to secure the top spot.

Shaw, watched by Sir Clive Woodward, had to dig deep on reserves of strength which had been sapped by 10 previous races and a double round of physically pumping the sail. It was brutal. "You are always digging deep, and it was a medal race," she said afterwards adding: "It's my job."

Dempsey, who is engaged to marry Yngling double gold medallist Sarah Ayton in October, said: "At the end of the day, you can't get it right all the time and that's racing. It's difficult when it comes down to one race and one lap. Now we are getting married, so life's not all bad." The couple plans a honeymoon in Scotland "Sarah's getting a dog, and then we've got Weymouth in four years' time."

The final medal races are due tomorrow for the Tornado catamaran, in which Britain's Leigh McMillan and Will Howden are out of the running despite making the top 10 double points run-off, and in the Star class there is everything to play for.

Three medals should be shared between the top four. Britain's Iain Percy, Finn gold medallist in 2000, and Andrew 'Bart' Simpson are second. Against them are the pair which has led the series almost from day one, Sweden's Freddy Loof and Anders Ekstrom, chasing them are Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil and the French pair of Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau.

All four are former world champions, all four already have Olympic medals. "We hope we are getting better and we try to keep calm," said Simpson after a tricky final day of three fleet races which netted a first, a second and a sixth. "But it's tough on the brain and tough mentally trying to keep fighting.

"The only game plan we have for the final race is to win it. If we win the race, we've got gold. Anything else and you have to start looking round. You have to keep focussed on what you can do. We want to win."

The bronze from Shaw meant that Britain has surpassed its own target of four medals and that for three successive Olympic Games it has taken five home and been top of the medal table. One more tomorrow would mean a record. Something to celebrate, something to add extra pressure when it comes to defending a proud Olympic record on home waters.

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

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game