West Mersea’s Saskia Clark set to pick up gold today in 470 class at Olympic sailing regatta

Great Britain's Saskia Clarke, left, with teammate Hannah Mills after their round in the 470 Women's

Great Britain's Saskia Clarke, left, with teammate Hannah Mills after their round in the 470 Women's race on the eleventh day of the Rio Olympic Games. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

An Olympic gold medal is on the verge of coming to Essex today as Saskia Clark prepares for her final sailing race of the Games.

Competing in the women’s 470 class with teammate Hannah Mills, Colchester-born Clark, aged 36, only has to finish today to be sure of clinching the Olympic title.

Clark has been sailing from a young age at the West Mersea Yacht Club – a far cry from Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay where she will race for the ultimate prize today at 6.45pm after her race’s start time was delayed.

She and Mills arrived at the Rio Olympics with unfinished business after taking silver on the home waters of Weymouth and Portland four years ago.

It was a challenge they met head on and a fine regatta means they are all but assured of Britain’s second sailing gold of the Games, after Giles Scott wrapped up Finn glory in Brazil.

Forced to race on their reserve day due to Monday’s changeable conditions, Mills and Clark secured two third places either side of a second to build up a 20-point cushion ahead of the medal race.

It means that, subject to protest, the British duo will become Olympic champions if they complete the double-point medal race without disqualification.

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Clark said: “Obviously we want to go and not be total clowns out there on the water and get around the race course in good shape.

“But I think we’ve managed to keep a lid on that when we needed to. Today was a great example of that. As each race went past, it was still about the next race.

“We’ve been really consistent and solid all week, there was a really nice breeze out there, 10-13 knots, and that probably settled our nerves a bit as we know we are one of the fastest in those conditions. We just bashed in three solid races and kept a track of our competitors.”

“Disbelief is how I felt,” Mills added. “I didn’t trust Joe (Glanfield), our coach, that he got the points right.

“It still hasn’t sunk in, until we get the medal, until it is there and it can’t go anywhere.”

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