Tokyo 2020 Olympics: ‘Proud’ and ‘relieved’ family of Hayling Island sailor and Olympic gold medallist Eilidh McIntyre delighted with result after Team GB win top spot in 470 women’s class
HISTORY was made as a Hayling Island sailor won a gold medal at her first ever Olympic games.
Eilidh McIntyre and her partner Hannah Mills were among the competitors in race six of the 470 women's class, which kicked off at 7:33am this morning.
Team GB’s fifth place finish in today's race meant that the pair won the top spot overall.
Cheering 27-year-old Eilidh on from the Hayling Island Sailing Club was dad Mike McIntyre, another gold medalist who triumphed in the Star class in Seoul in 1988.
This means that the McIntyres are the third dad and daughter pairing in Olympic history, from any country, to both win golds.
Almost 200 people watched Eilidh compete at a live stream aired from the sailing club, and the crowds waved flags and clapped every time Team GB appeared on screen.
Leading the 470 fleet by 14 points, the British team knew that they had secured a medal as they were 27 points clear of fourth place - but family members were anxious to see Eilidh win the coveted gold medal.
Mike was joined by Eilidh’s mum Caroline, fiance Johnny, brother Angus, and sister Gemma Griffiths along with her children Ardis and Lailah Griffiths.
Supporters waved England flags, and members of Eilidh's family wore Team GB T-shirts.
Delighted supporters lept from their seats when the boats crossed the finish line and the British pair were declared the gold winners.
Gemma said: 'It's just brilliant - for Eilidh and Hannah, it's just amazing.
'The turnout was incredible. She's inspired a lot of people and she's got a lot of backing.
'We have always known that she would do it, she's got that grit and determination.'
The excitement was slightly dampened when Team France protested the result, accusing GB and Poland of team racing against them, but cheers broke out again when the protest was dismissed.
Gemma, who started sailing with her dad when she was seven, said: 'I'm quite relieved, that was quite the end of the regatta - I guess some people will do anything.’
Relief washed over Eilidh's proud parents when news came that the judges were not going to take France’s protest any further.
Caroline said: 'I'm still angry because I thought it was very unsportsmanlike. It was unnecessary.
'The French hadn't sailed well, they shouldn't have protested the boat that won.'
Mike said: 'The protest was without merit at all.’
Johnny, who proposed to Eilidh on her birthday last year, originally wanted to wait until after the Olympics, but said the ring was 'burning a hole in his pocket'.
Although he felt France’s protest had ruined the moment for the girls, Johnny said: 'I'm so proud of what they have achieved.'
Eilidh caught the sailing bug at an early age, having first set sail on a catamaran at only eight months old, accompanied by her Olympian father.
Caroline said: 'We didn't doubt that they would go through - they sailed a great regatta.
'We just always knew that she was a winner.'
Mike added: ‘They sailed such a good race today. Well done Eilidh.'