The Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta – Olympic Test Event 2014 – concluded today with victory of Tom Burton AUS, the new Australian Olympic dream after Gold medal obtained by Tom Slingby AUS in London 2012.
11-2-9-2-12) showed great consistency along this important event played in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, place of next Olympics in 2016. He took a four point lead over Nick Thompson GBR (6-1- 15-1-1-3-8- 5.8 RDGa – 22 MDNC) into the Medal Race but with British unable to race due to injury the Australian had a strong advantage over the chasing pack.
Burton (Australian Sailing Team) came through in sixth to take gold in the light breeze and whilst on paper the result seems convincing, it was far from that as the Australian explained, “It was pretty tough. I had a really good start and was going good in the first half of the first beat but I got a bit conservative and made a bit of an error and ended up at the back pretty quick. The rest of the race was pretty stressful.”
Things could have been tighter for the Australian had Thompson raced which Burton was quick to recognise, “Yesterday I didn’t see him in that second race where he got hit but obviously he got hit pretty bad after seeing him today. It would have changed things up so who knows what would have happened.”
With the light winds testing the sailors’ tactical nous the positions chopped and changed. Francesco Marrai ITA took the bullet and was followed by Charlie Buckingham USA. Both sailors finished fifth and sixth respectively. Rutger Van Schaardenburg NED came through in third which was enough to push him up from third into Silver medal position.
Thompson’s advantage was a good one coming into the Medal Race and even though he counted 22 points he takes away Bronze. Robert Scheidt BRA finished in eighth which was not enough to push him ahead of Thompson.
For Burton and the remaining sailors it has been a good test and offered a glimpse of what will occur in two years time. With a mixed bag of conditions the best Laser sailor will Olympic gold as Burton concluded, “If you’re good across the board you’ll be good here.”