Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Sailing – Women’s RS:X – Medal Race – Enoshima Yacht Harbour – Tokyo, Japan – July 31, 2021. Lu Yunxiu of China celebrates winning gold after the race. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado
July 31, 2021
By Philip O’Connor
ENOSHIMA, Japan -Yungxiu Lu of China held off a frenetic challenge from rivals to win the women’s RS:X gold medal on Saturday, edging out 2016 Olympic champion Charline Picon of France, with Britain’s Emma Wilson picking up the bronze.
The trio came into the 10-woman medal race knowing they would all be on the podium. Lu had a four-point lead over Wilson with Picon two points further back, so all that was left to be decided was the medals.
After a delayed start due to the lack of wind, the 36-year-old Picon attacked and Lu struggled to keep up as she found herself slipping down the field.
Despite Picon’s lead, Lu knew that a top-four finish would be enough as long as Wilson did not win, and she recovered by the midpoint of the race, crossing the line third behind Picon and Wilson.
The three leapt into the water and celebrated together before jumping up on their boards again to steer them back to shore. Lu was handed a Chinese flag to fly.
“I’m very happy and proud about this medal race, I did my best, a very solid race. I wanted to finish like that. The colour of my medal? It’s my second in a row, it’s amazing,” Picon told reporters.
“It was very hard, 30 degrees, very hot, very light wind, six knots maximum. It was very intense, very intense,” she added.
The men’s final is set to take place later on Saturday, with Dutch sailor Kiran Badsloe set to take the gold if he can start and finish the race without getting disqualified.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Stephen Coates)