Ainsworth misses out on Rio 2016 medal

Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth in 49erFX action
Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth in 49erFX action

Itchenor Sailing Club’s Sophie Ainsworth and her sailing partner Charlotte Dobson want to end their Rio 2016 run on a high in the 49erFX medal race after seeing their podium hopes ended.

Dobson and Ainsworth went into Tuesday’s races in sixth overall knowing that a good day on Guanabara Bay could leave them handily placed going into Thursday’s double-points medals decider.

Yet they ended the day with disappointment as scores of 15, 14 and 8 from their three races left them with too big a gap to close with that one race remaining.

Rio was the Brits’ first Games in the new Women’s Skiff class, and with Ainsworth now 27 and Dobson 30 a run for Tokyo could well be on the cards. But for now they want to leave Rio in style by putting in a medal race performance to remember.

Dobson said: “We will just be trying to put together the best race we possibly can and do ourselves justice on the Sugarloaf course. It’s a really tricky racecourse and will be a really good opportunity to see what an Olympic Medal Race is about.

“It was a really disappointing day, we had a case of the slows for the first race and then really struggled to get back into it. Then I had some problems on the start in the second. In the third we managed to put it together a little bit better, but all in all a fairly disappointing day and not what we needed today.

“We felt good going into today, we raced well yesterday and we felt pretty comfortable on this Aeropuerto racecourse and were feeling in our stride. But we didn’t manage to get going and on such a one-way track it was just really punishing.”

“I’d love to campaign for 2020. It’s been amazingly fun and while we’re disappointed right now, it’s been a magical month and I’d love to be able to do it again.”

The 2016 World Champions, Tamara Echegoyen Dominguez, who won London 2012 Match Racing gold, and Berta Betanzos Moro (ESP) lead the event with home favourites, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), in second and Jena Hansen and Katja Steen Salskov-Iversen (DEN) in third.

The 49erFX Medal Race is scheduled to take place at 6pm BST on Thursday.

Tuesday also saw the end of the Nacra 17 class in which Ainsworth’s fellow Itchenor member Ben Saxton - sailing with Nicola Groves - put up a brave effort but didn’t make the medals.

Follow the British Sailing Team @BritishSailing on Twitter and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/britishsailingteam

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