Thu, Aug 09, 2012 - Page 19 News List

London 2012 Olympics: Dutch master wins last men’s RS:X title

Reuters, WEYMOUTH, England

Dorian van Rijsselberge of the Netherlands celebrates as he crosses the finish line to take the gold medal in the men’s RS:X in Weymouth, England, on Tuesday.

Photo: EPA

Dorian van Rijsselberg of the Netherlands and Spain’s Marina Alabau Neira won the last Olympics gold medals of the RS:X windsurfing event on Tuesday, before the sport is replaced by kite-surfing at the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.

Van Rijsselberg had an unassailable lead before the medal race on Tuesday and he enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere, though he still finished second behind France’s Julien Bontemps.

“This was proper sailing. I’ve had lots of fun,” Van Rijsselberg said. “We were having a nice medal race hearing the crowd and everyone cheering.”

Nick Dempsey, the 2004 bronze medalist, captured silver in front of a home crowd, putting behind him the agony of missing out on a medal in Beijing.

Dempsey and his wife, two-time British Olympic gold medalist Sarah Ayton, and their two sons live in Weymouth in the southwest of England, which is the venue for the sailing competition.

“It’s just amazingly special being here. I’m usually thousands of miles away,” he said.

Poland’s Przemyslaw Miarczynski won the bronze.

“I’m very happy. My dream has come true,” the veteran of four Olympics said. “It’s amazing. It’s my fourth Olympics and probably the last in windsurfing.”

The RS:X class is unlikely to be raced in Rio de Janeiro following a decision by the International Sailing Federation in May to replace it with kite-surfing, though that decision is being challenged by the International RS:X Class Association Ltd.

Spain’s Alabau Neira clinched the gold in the women’s competition by sailing serenely over the tricky shoreline Nothe medal course, ahead of Finland’s Tuuli Petaja, who clinched silver, and Poland’s Zofia Noceti-Klepacka, who claimed bronze.

“It was super exciting,” Alabau Neira said. “I managed to do everything I wanted to do. I feel I had a really good week and a really good medal.”

Australia’s three-time world champions Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page delivered two impressive first places on Tuesday in the final two races of the 470 two-handed dinghy, and they could be in line for their country’s third gold at the regatta.

With 18 points after 10 races they remained four points ahead of Britain’s Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, with Argentina’s Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente trailing in third place with 57 points.

Four countries are likely to be competing for the 470 bronze in the medal race today.

Australia won gold in the men’s laser on Monday and they also held the lead in the men’s skiff 49er event before the medal race yesterday.

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