China's Lu wins women's sailing gold in back-and-forth final race

Posted at 2:05 AM, Jul 31, 2021


The three sailors who had virtually assured spots on the podium in the women's windsurfing (RS:X) class changed positions many times in the medal race Saturday, with defending champion Charline Picon of France winning the race while China's Lu Yunxia took the gold.

Working extra hard to pump the sails in the light wind, the three medalists trailed at the first of five marks, with Great Britain's Emma Wilson all the way back in seventh. By the third mark, Picon had moved up to first, and the 22-year-old Wilson had sailed all the way up to second. Lu, fifth at the first two marks, was up to third.

Lu, who won the class-specific world championship in 2019, had the overall lead coming into the medal race with 30 points. Wilson had 34, Picon 36. With points doubled in the medal race, the two Europeans needed to finish a couple of boats ahead of Lu to take gold.

Picon crossed the line first, 32 seconds ahead of Wilson, then turned around to see if anyone else had passed Lu, but no one had come close. Picon took silver, followed by Wilson.

The men's medal race was still to come Saturday, but Dutch sailor Kiran Badloe had removed most of the suspense by grabbing an unassailable lead after 12 races. As long as Badloe and his board cross the line safely, Badloe will take gold.

SEE MORE: Dutch sailor Badloe closes in on windsurfing gold