Wangi Wangi sailors on track for Olympic gold

WANGI Wangi sailors Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen remain on track for a gold medal at the London Olympics despite another challenging day on the water at Weymouth on Thursday.

The reigning three-time 49er-class world champions and Olympic favourites finished 10th and sixth in their two races but still hold a 10-point lead over their nearest rivals, Great Britain.

But with seven races remaining before Wednesday’s gold-medal event, Outteridge and Jensen are still comfortably placed.

If they can maintain their all-round consistency, the ultimate prize awaits.

Outteridge, however, was happy to shrug it off and focus on Friday’s racing (early Saturday morning AEST).

‘‘We had a tough day out there today,’’ Outteridge said.

‘‘In the first race we had an incident on the start line and we had to do a penalty turn and we were in last, and we just kept our composure and we had to sail back through the fleet and we got a 10th.

‘‘We were very happy to save that race. Tomorrow will be a big day with three races on a shifty course [The Nothe] and we typically sail well there.

‘‘We’ve been pretty good at getting the starts and the first shifts.

‘‘Today wasn’t so good for us but tomorrow we’re confident we’ll be back up there and doing it again, and I would expect that if we round the top mark in the top 10 there will be plenty of opportunities for us.’’

Outteridge, Jensen and Kookaburras hockey star Simon Orchard appear the Hunter’s best chances for gold medals.

Outteridge and crewmate Ben Austin were just a few hundred metres from first place at Beijing four years ago but tragically capsized and finished unplaced.

In a few days time, the skipper could well be savouring redemption.

The Hunter’s only medallist in London so far is Merewether swimmer Angie Bainbridge, who collected silver after the 4x200 metres freestyle relay.

As was the case in Beijing, when she won a gold in the same event, Bainbridge was used only as a heat swimmer and did not feature in the final.

She did not get to appear on the podium on either occasion but still has two medals as treasured keepsakes.

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