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World bronze for 470 duo Mills and Clark
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark secured the second British medal at the ISAF Sailing World Championships on Saturday (20 September), winning bronze in the 470 Women’s event.
The Olympic silver medallists went into the final day in bronze medal position, with an outside chance of moving upwards in the rankings, and gave a strong display to finish second in the medal race behind the Austrian duo who were crowned World Champions.
With their second place in the race, the British duo had to hope that New Zealand’s defending champions and Olympic gold medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie finished the 10-boat race in ninth or worse to wrest the silver medal from them.
But although the Kiwi pair had been in that position during the first lap of the race, they picked their way back through to finish sixth and hold on to their overall second place.
Mills and Clark, who have endured a disjointed season through injury, were happy with their efforts and to have remained among the leading lights in the women’s double-handed class.
"This was all we could have hoped for today really,” Cardiff’s Mills explained.
“It was too far for silver and gold to be in with a shout so we did just did the best job we could and came home with the bronze.
“This is the ISAF World Championships, it is only once every four years - it is a big deal in the build up to any of the Olympic Games so to come here and perform we are really happy. It's not quite the colour we wanted but we have a lot to work on."
The medal racers played to a 2,500-3,000 strong crowd in the grandstands, but had to wait to get their race underway as the sea breeze built.
West Mersea’s Clark explained: "It was a big deal this morning there was lots of noise when we came to the boat park. We don't get much chance to practice in that - it is only the Olympics really we have all that kind of excitement.
“On the water it was really tricky with land all around us that is similar to a lot of our race courses in Rio so we feel we have made a real step forward sailing in that kind of breeze this week."