Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Great Chance for Sonar Crew; Wearsider's Hopes of Collecting Medal Are Still Alive

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Great Chance for Sonar Crew; Wearsider's Hopes of Collecting Medal Are Still Alive

Article excerpt

IT was a case of what might have been for John Robertson and his sonar crew as they produced their best day on Weymouth's water yesterday to stay in contention for a Paralympic sailing medal at London 2012.

Robertson and his Sonar crew of Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas lie fifth overall on 45 points, three points behind the bronze medal position that is currently held by Norway.

But it could have been so much better for the trio who would be sitting in bronze medal position themselves if not for a four-point penalty incurred on Tuesday evening at the end of racing.

Separating those two teams in fourth are the French, but it is the Brits who appear to be finding their form at the crucial stage of proceedings.

After two fourth-place finishes in the first two races yesterday, Robertson and co really hit their stride in the third and final race.

Having led for the entirety, the British trio looked all set to claim their first outright win at London 2012 but were pipped on the line by Norway and had to settle for second.

ParalympicsGB have never in their history claimed a sailing medal but with Helena Lucas guaranteed at least a silver in the single-person keelboat and Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell a bronze in the two-person event Robertson, Stodel and Thomas will go into today's final race hoping not to be left out of the podium celebrations.

"We have never had a regatta where it has been so close at the top of the leaderboard," Robertson, from Sunderland, added. "It's all too tight to try anything fancy or to try and match race five boats or whatever it is, we've just got to go out there and do what we do.

"Nothing is decided until we cross that finish line on the last race. We will just keep working hard, sailing hard and hopefully that result will come."

Meanwhile, Newcastle's James O'Shea pushed himself to the point of vomiting as he had to settle for fourth place in the 100m breaststroke.

O'Shea was disappointed with his time but admitted his biggest frustration was not being able to give one of his young fans a medal as promised. …

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