By Philip O’Connor ENOSHIMA, Japan -Kiran Badloe and Lu Yunxiu won the gold medals in the RS:X Olympic windsurfing as expected on Saturday but there was high drama, with the men’s race turning into a turbulent affair to decide the destination of silver and bronze. Badloe and Lu took what are likely to be the […]
Olympics-Sailing-Badloe and Lu grab windsurfing golds after turbulent races
By Philip O’Connor
ENOSHIMA, Japan -Kiran Badloe and Lu Yunxiu won the gold medals in the RS:X Olympic windsurfing as expected on Saturday but there was high drama, with the men’s race turning into a turbulent affair to decide the destination of silver and bronze.
Badloe and Lu took what are likely to be the last golds in the men’s and women’s RS:X classes, with the category due to be replaced by IQ windfoil racing at the 2024 Games in Paris.
With barely a breeze in the morning, the day’s racing was delayed as the temperatures rose, reaching boiling point as the men’s medals were decided.
Badloe came in with an unassailable lead after the opening series of 10 races, telling reporters on Thursday that the gold would be his if he could stay out of trouble and not do anything that would get him disqualified from the competition.
That left Thomas Goyard of France and Mattia Camboni of Italy set to battle it out for silver and bronze, with Poland’s Piotr Myszka set to pounce should they slip up.
All three jostled for position at the start before taking off quickly and were subsequently found by officials to have started early, leading them to be disqualified from the race.
Though out of the race, they were still in the competition, with 22-point penalties added to their overall scores.
Goyard’s second place in the overall standings was unaffected, but the penalty saw Camboni slip out of the top three to be replaced by China’s Kun Bi, who started the medal race fifth and ended up snatching an unlikely bronze.
“I knew these guys were going to push hard because they were all fighting for a medal, and I stayed as far away and as clear from everybody as I could,” Badloe said of his strategy to stay out of trouble and secure the gold.
“It’s unreal (to be an Olympic champion), I think it’s going to sink in a bit more over the next couple of hours, but this feeling is amazing, it’s pretty special to me.”
In the women’s race, Lu Yunxiu of China held off a fierce challenge to win, edging out 2016 Olympic champion Charline Picon of France and Britain’s Emma Wilson, whose mother competed in the same event at the 1992 and 1996 Games.
“The medal race was tough, not only that we didn’t have much wind, but also the struggle in myself, within me, about whether I could overcome and believe in myself that I could win,” Lu told reporters.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman/Stephen Coates/Ed Osmond/Ken Ferris)