Kinsale's John Twomey, Ian Costelloe and Austin O'Carroll in the Sonar keelboat yesterday counted a DSQ and two 12th places to lie 13th overall with one race left to sail of the Paralympic Regatta in Rio today. Full results are here.
Australian's Colin Harrison, Russell Boaden and Jonathan Harris were next in line to secure another Australian gold ahead of the final race.
Yet again consistency was the key as a second place gave the Aussies a strong advantage going in to race ten. All they had to do was finish in the top 11 places for the race and the gold was theirs. They won the race just to put the shine on it.
Fresh off the water Harrison said, "It's just elation. It's been a long time coming and it feels great to get there. I don't know yet, still trying to work it out, I can't describe it. There's a lot of emotion.”
Harrison couldn't quite find the words to describe the win, but he found some when it came to why the whole Australian Sailing Team have been doing so well, "I think we have just got the best work ethic, culture, support and everything going on in the background is all about achieving success. That's what we felt over the years and that's why we are here today, without a doubt.”
For Harris a particular example of this support came to mind, "Going to Miami [USA] earlier on this year was a really important regatta, getting to sail against the Americans and Canadians there. We couldn't afford to go but the team got behind us and somehow the money appeared and we got some tickets and accommodation and we were there. Things like that have helped all the way through.”
Being consistent at Rio 2016 was no fluke for the Australian Sonar team. They have been consistent all year, and longer, leading up to the Paralympic Games, but it has always been that little bit out of reach for them, until now, "What's been frustrating is, in the last three years, we've always been on the podium but always a point or two away and it's been frustrating but you know what?” asks Harris, "This is the one that obliterates all those memories. Being the last Paralympics for sailing, it's a good one to have won.”
The Australian win was largely helped by their nearest rivals at the start of the day, USA, faltering. Current world champions Alphonsus Doerr, Hugh Freund and Bradley Kendell were within reach of the gold at the beginning of play, but with a disappointing eighth and discarded tenth they fell too far back to challenge for the top step on the podium.
The Americans hold on to second with 43 points, but their North American neighbours and training partner, Canada, are just one point behind on 44. Paul Tingley, Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes finished the day with a seventh and a second in the final race of the day.
In fourth place on the leaderboard with 48 points are London 2012 bronze medallists, Norway. Greece and New Zealand are next on 49 points, just one point ahead of Germany on 50.
There is still all to play for in the Sonar for silver and bronze Paralympic medals.