Italy win mixed foiling nacra 17 Olympic gold 

Italy’s Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti claim the mixed foiling nacra 17 Olympic title after finishing sixth in medal race.

Picture by 2021 Getty Images

Italy’s Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti claim the mixed foiling nacra 17 Olympic title defeating Great Britain.

The Italians crossed the line at Enoshima Yacht Harbour in sixth position behind the medal race winners Santiago Raul Lange and Cecilia Carranza Sarol as well as Denmark and the USA, who finished second and third respectively.

Argentina, Denmark and the USA finished with total scores of 75, 66 and 93. This meant that the top three in the medal race finished in seventh, fourth and ninth respectively overall.

The Italian sailors finished in sixth, scoring 12 points, which were enough for them to take the title.

Tita and Banti's win was Italy's fourth Olympic gold medal in sailing and the country's first since Alessandra Sensini won gold in the mistral women in 2000.

"It's obviously pretty unreal because halfway through the race it looked pretty bad for us," explained Tita about winning the gold medal.

"We just managed to come back somehow, we found one or two lucky shifts, and the others didn't have a good enough race to beat us in the end.

"But it was a big fight, and the result needs to sink in."

Great Britain’s John Gimson and Anna Burnet's fifth place in the medal race gave them 10 points for an overall total of 45 and the silver medal.

At the age of 38 years and 145 days, Gimson became the oldest British medallist in sailing at the Olympic Games since 1992 when Simon Stewart took bronze in the sailing open at age 38 years and 186 days.

“It’s been 20 years of Olympic sailing in various classes," said Gimson. "The real push has been over the last 12 years since sailing the star class.

“The dream of an Olympic medal is what kept me going but, at the point the second time around when my (star) discipline was dropped (from the Olympic programme following London 2012), having just done a few years in the class and invested a lot of time and money in it - I had to question my life choices at that moment, but the dream never died, so it was an easy choice really.”

Gimson has indicated that he wants to continue sailing towards the Olympic Games Paris 2024.

“I need a gold one (medal),” he added.

Germany crossed the line in the medal race in eighth, scoring 16 points. This gave them 63 points and the bronze.

Tita and Banti were all but assured a gold or silver medal in the event before the race began if they finished the race and were not disqualified because they had a 24-point lead over third-placed Germany and 20 points was the most that could be awarded.

Great Britain, who won this event at the 2020 Nacra 17 world championships, had to win the medal race and needed Italy to finish in eighth place or lower to take the gold.

The Italians got off to a sluggish and were in eighth place at the first marker. Great Britain were just one place higher in seventh, while Germany were in 10th.

By the third marker, each crew had progressed and settled into their medal-winning positions. Italy, Great Britain and Germany were fifth, sixth and eighth.

Meanwhile, travelling at speeds of up to 17 knots, Argentina, Denmark and the USA moved away from the field to claim the first three places in the medal race.

“It’s just incredible," said Germany's Alica Stuhlemmer on the success of the German sailing team. "There are no words for the achievements we’ve had today with all the three classes sailing in one day and then getting medals in every race.

"We have been watching a little bit before we went out for our race of what the others did, there’s no words.”