Sailing: Percy holds on for gold

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IAIN PERCY won the Olympic single-handed Finn Class by the narrowest of margins in the European Championships in Ostend yesterday. He held on to pip the reigning Olympic gold medallist and world champion, Mateusz Kusnierewicz of Poland, by one point in the nine-race series.

Percy went into the final race with a nine-point lead but, in choppy conditions, had to hang on as Kusnierewicz finished second in the race, but could only manage the same position overall as Percy finished eight places behind him. Third overall was the Canadian Richard Clarke, who had pipped Percy for a podium spot at the World Championships in Melbourne in January.

"It's great to beat them all for once and hopefully I can now carry this forward," said Percy afterwards. "I only squeezed into the vital tenth place on the last leg of the race."

John Derbyshire, the UK Olympic team manager, added: "Even if it was called `European', this was a World Championship fleet so the win is a terrific result. Iain is beginning to realise the talent he has shown for a long time."

Ian Williams failed to make today's Royal Lymington Cup semi-final as the form which had left him unbeaten in the round-robin stage deserted him. But Andy Beadsworth put in a strong showing to secure a place and then beat Luc Pillot of France in the first of their best-of-five as Kiwi Murray Jones lost to Morten Henricksen of Denmark.