Australian sailors Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch have received their London 2012 Paralympic Games gold medals after a lack of breeze cut short the sailing competition in Weymouth.
Australian sailors Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch have
received their London 2012 Paralympic Games gold medals after a
lack of breeze cut short the sailing competition in Weymouth.
Each fleet was scheduled to contest one race to finish
competition on Thursday but when the breeze hadn't arrived by the
cut off time of 1.50pm the London 2012 Paralympic Games sailing
competition was brought to an early end.
Fitzgibbon and Tesch were the team to beat in the Skud 18
class all week, wrapping up their gold medal with a day to spare.
The Australian pair had four race wins, five seconds and a third
from the regatta's 10 races, giving them victory over their
American opponents by six points, with Great Britain finishing two
points further behind in third.
For skipper Fitzgibbon his London gold was his second
Paralympic Games medal, having won silver at Beijing 2008. Tesch
finally won that elusive gold medal after coming so close before in
wheelchair basketball. London 2012 was Tesch's sixth straight
Paralympic Games, having previously won silver and bronze medals
with Australia's wheelchair basketball team.
The pair teamed up at the beginning of 2011 and were on the
pace from their first event, winning the ISAF Sailing World Cup
round in Miami and going on to finish on the podium in every
regatta they contested.
There was extra cause for celebration for the Australian team
on Thursday night after Daniel Fitzgibbon announced his engagement
to Kumi Sasaki at the team dinner.
Australia's Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Stephen Churm
finished sixth overall in the Sonar class.
Harrison, Harris and Churm finished just seven points behind
second and five off third following a week of close racing on
Portland Harbour. The Australians, who were competing in only their
third international regatta together after teaming up in January
this year, were in the mix all regatta, having the early event lead
following a good opening day.
Harrison and crew went on to claim four top three finishes
from the 10 races, with the light winds on Thursday unfortunately
stopping them from pushing on for a medal in the final race.
London 2012 was Harrison's third Paralympic Games after
competing Athens and the winning bronze in Beijing four years
Tasmanian sailor Matt Bugg finished seventh overall in the
2.4mR class on his Paralympic Games debut.
Bugg, who has only been competing internationally in the 2.4mR
class since the middle of 2010, was mixing with a fleet full of
former Paralympic and World Champions all week, eventually
finishing 19 points off the podium.
Bugg finished in the top 10 in nine of the 10 races, the only
time he was outside the 10 was when he had to retire from
Wednesday's final race after suffering boat damage in a
Bugg had a consistent week, with three top five finishes and
was in the hunt for the medals for much of the regatta.
By Craig Heydon, Yachting Australia