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Hannah Mills grabs historic 470 class gold with Eilidh McIntyre

Hannah Mills grabs historic 470 class gold with Eilidh McIntyre
© Reuters
Hannah Mills, who won gold in Rio and silver in London, becomes British's most successful female Olympic sailor.

Britain’s Hannah Mills became the most successful female Olympic sailor in history by winning gold with Eilidh McIntyre in the women’s 470 class in Tokyo.

Mills, who carried the British flag at the opening ceremony with rower Mohamed Sbihi, won silver in London and gold in Rio with Saskia Clark in the same boat.

Mills and McIntyre have dominated the regatta at Enoshima, winning two races and only twice finishing outside the top four, and they went into the medal race with a 14-point lead.

That meant they only needed to finish in the top seven to clinch gold and they were never in any danger, crossing the line comfortably in fifth.

There was a delay for the result to be ratified after a protest from France but that was dismissed, with Mills and McIntyre confirmed in gold.

The victory continued a hugely successful two days for Britain’s sailors, with Mills and McIntyre making it three gold medals after success for Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell in the 49er and Giles Scott in the Finn on Tuesday.

It is the country’s second best Olympic tally after Beijing in 2008, when they won six medals, including four golds.

Mills joined forces with 27-year-old McIntyre when Clark retired following the Rio Olympics and the pair marked themselves out as the ones to beat by winning the world championships at Enoshima in 2019.

Hannah Mills carried the British flag with Mohamed Sbihi at the opening ceremony
Hannah Mills carried the British flag with Mohamed Sbihi at the opening ceremony (Mike Egerton/PA)

It is a debut Olympic medal for McIntyre, who follows in the footsteps of her father Mike – the gold medallist in the Star class at the Seoul Games in 1988.

There was disappointment, though, for 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men’s 470.

They were sitting second after eight races but dropped to fifth ahead of the medal race and that was where they finished after crossing the line in seventh.

Mills, asked what it meant to have become the most succesful female Olympic sailor in history, told the BBC: “It’s absolutely mad. Growing up I dreamed of being on the podium once and I’ve managed it three times. I’ve had two incredible team-mates to sail with and I’ve been incredibly lucky.

“Now it’s the emotion of we’ve done it – it’s over. We’ve done what we came here to do.”

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