Hayling Islander Eilidh McIntyre suffers final race penalty agony in 470 World Championships

Hayling Islander Eilidh McIntyre and Hannah Mills narrowly missed out on a podium spot following an epic comeback in the 470 World Championships.

Sunday, 14th March 2021, 2:04 pm
Eilidh McIntryre, right, and Hannah Mills, finished fifth in the 470 World Championships in Portugal after being penalised in the last race. Picture: Charly Triballeau/Getty Images.

The pair entered the event off the shores of Vilamoura, Portugal, as the defending champions following their victory in 2019.

But they endured a tough start to their title defence, finding themselves in the bottom half of the 27-boat fleet at the midway stage of the six-day regatta.

But the pair proved their class with a comeback that saw them jump to fourth on the back of a string of top five results, including three wins on the bounce on the penultimate day.

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With bronze within their reach, Mills and McIntyre looked like they would complete their comeback as they approached the finish line of the medal race in second place.

Disaster then struck when the pair were penalised by the on-water umpires, then punished further for not completing a penalty spin - relegating them to seventh across the line and fifth overall.

Despite not finishing on the podium, Mills said she and McIntyre would learn from their mistakes going into the final few months before attempting to win Olympic gold in the delayed Tokyo Games.

‘It was a real week of two halves for us,’ Mills said. ‘There were a few key bits missing the first half of the week which at this level in sport means you are going to be struggling.

‘We recognised what was happening and managed to correct it for the second half of the week, giving us a fighting chance to grab a medal going into the medal race.

‘Obviously we’re disappointed not to get a medal, but so much was learnt from each day that will be invaluable moving forward towards Tokyo.’