Dempsey denied in bid for gold

Nick Dempsey
Nick Dempsey
Leigh McMillan announced as Helmsman onboard Land Rover BAR Academy. Picture: Alex Palmer

Leading sailor back at Land Rover BAR

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The weather denied British Olympic windsurfer Nick Dempsey a potential gold medal finish at the RS:X Windsurfing World Championships in Cadiz this week.

The 2009 world champion, who has booked his place in the British team at Weymouth this summer, was gearing up for a final showdown with Frenchman Julien Bontemps, with the two effectively tied for the lead heading into the double-points scoring medal race.

But 35-knot winds on Wednesday meant organisers had to cancel racing and the Skandia Team GBR sailor had to settle for silver behind Bontemps.

‘It’s been really full-on with the conditions here, but it’s great to be racing at the front of the fleet again,’ said Dempsey of his performance in the 120-strong fleet.

‘It’s just a bit frustrating that I didn’t have the chance to turn silver into gold.

‘You don’t get the chance to be a world champion that many times so it’s pretty frustrating not to get the opportunity to better my position.

‘I was expecting some tough competition – my training over the winter has gone really well, but you’re never really sure how it will pay off until you get out there and line up against the top guys again.’

Nevertheless, the result was a real fillip for Dempsey in the long build-up to the Olympics.

The 2004 Athens bronze medallist, who finished an agonising fourth in China, has his sights set on gold at his home Games, literally in his case as the Norwich-born sailor is based in Weymouth.

‘Weymouth is definitely the main focus for me this year, but it was still really important for me to do well at the Worlds,’ said the 31-year-old.

‘I’ve trained hard over the winter so it was important for me to get back to winning again and to know that I’m going into Weymouth now with everything on track and going to plan.

‘I look back on the week and I do feel that I was unlucky on a number of occasions.

‘You can always look back at a few points that you lost during the week and a few things that didn’t quite go to plan but I’m actually really happy with how I sailed, and I feel my form has been the best I’ve seen in a long time.’

Meanwhile, in spite of a lingering chest infection, Beijing bronze medallist Bryony Shaw still managed to equal her previous best finish at an RS:X World Championship, finishing fourth.

‘I’m really happy with how the week turned out,’ said the 28-year-old.

‘Two days before the event I was about to book a flight and go home, but I seemed to turn a corner and found my energy coming back, so decided to race to try and take what I could out of it.

‘It was really worthwhile. We can take a lot away from the event, especially in terms of our equipment settings in those really windy conditions and also learning which of the girls is fighting hard.’