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GB Yngling women breeze to gold
17 Aug 2008 6:50 BST

Great Britain's Yngling sailing crew have taken gold in Qingdao.

Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson kept ahead of their Dutch rivals to finish first in rough conditions and seal overall victory in their class.

The race had been postponed by 24 hours following Saturday's windless day on the Chinese coast, but Sunday brought 15-knot winds and choppy seas.

"We've been happy to come out here in any conditions and today we proved that," Wilson told BBC Sport.

The Dutch led the British boat at the start but GB reached the windward mark first, a second ahead of the rest of the field.

They maintained their lead at the second mark and, although they were overtaken by Germany during the second leg, the Netherlands had dropped back to sixth, 51 seconds adrift of the British.

Ayton, Webb and Wilson regained the lead on the run to the finish, crossing the line seven seconds ahead of Germany and a minute in front of the Dutch.

The British trio finished on 24 points overall, with the Netherlands taking silver on 33 and the Greeks, who finished third in the race, earning bronze on 48.

Webb, who won Yngling gold with Ayton and Shirley Robertson in Athens, hailed the crew's prowess, having endured a day's delay and tough conditions on the water.

"I'm lost for words, it is such a relief. Our experience was everything, we stayed sure and we got better," she said.

Webb appeared close to tears as her boat was towed in front of flag-waving British supporters having crossed the line in first.

"That's the time that it hit home that we have done something pretty special," she added.

Ayton and Webb split with former skipper Robertson after Athens, and pipped Robertson's new team to win selection for these Games.

"It's been brilliant and it just kind of highlights what our campaign has been about - pure perfection," skipper Ayton told the BBC.

"Winning an Olympic gold medal, you're the best at what you do in the world. That feeling is particularly special and it doesn't matter, I don't think, whenever you win that.

"You just can't describe what Sarah and I have been through for the last four years and with us and Pippa for the last two.

"It's been incredible and words can't even put any kind of feeling on it, just the look we have, we know we're the best, just us."