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Team GB secure quick-fire double gold in Olympic sailing events

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Team GB have won sailing gold in both the men’s 49er and Finn classes at the Tokyo Olympics.

In the 49ers, Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell went into the final medal race, where double points are awarded, in second, four points behind New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.

But victory for Fletcher and Bithell and third for New Zealand saw them claim the title.

Fletcher and Bithell celebrate winning gold
Image: Fletcher and Bithell celebrate winning gold

And in the Finn class just a short time later, Giles Scott also struck gold for Great Britain.

It is Britain’s sixth successive title in the Finn class dating back to Iain Percy’s success in Sydney 21 years ago. Ben Ainslie then won three consecutive titles before Scott clinched his first gold in Rio.

The 49ers win secured a first Olympic medal for Fletcher, who finished sixth with Alain Sign in the same class in Rio, while Bithell took silver in the 470 class alongside Luke Patience at London 2012.

Bithell missed out to Fletcher and Sign for Rio, and the pair were rivals before deciding to team up in a bid to qualify for Tokyo.

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The decision brought immediate dividends as they won European and world titles, and now the biggest prize of all.

Fletcher said: “I think it’s been super close all week in racing and today showed off what it’s been like. It was an intense race but it’s mind-blowing to be sat here now being Olympic champions.”

On the race to the line with the German boat, the 33-year-old added: “I thought we had it to be honest but I knew it was super touch and go.

Fletcher and Bithell greet their supporters as they celebrate winning gold
Image: Fletcher and Bithell greet their supporters as they celebrate winning gold

“The other guys had right of way over us so we had to be careful to not get a penalty and time everything just right but Stu did an incredible job of making the boat go fast and we just nicked it at the end.”

The medal race was postponed from Monday, when a lack of wind forced racing to be cancelled for the day.

Fletcher’s fiancee, Charlotte Dobson, and her crewmate Saskia Tidey missed out on a medal in the women’s 49er FX earlier, coming seventh in the medal race and sixth overall.

The wins take Team GB’s gold medal tally to 13.