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Silver medal for Welsh sailor Steve Thomas

Steve Thomas (far right) with Sonar crewmates Hannah Stodel and John Robertson (Photo: Paul Wyeth/RYA)

Welshman Steve Thomas sailed to success on the final day of the IFDS Disabled Sailing World Championships on Friday alongside his GBR Sonar crewmates.

Bridgend-born Steve claimed a silver medal along with John Robertson and Hannah Stodel – but the trio narrowly missed out on gold due to controversy over another team’s score.

The Israeli team had a premature start penalty from race 10 overturned by the Race Committee on Thursday evening, handing them back their four-point overall lead.

The British team contested the decision, arguing that the evidence the Israelis submitted to support their claim was obtained via an illegal camera on board their boat and was therefore inadmissible.

The jury agreed that a class rule had been broken by the visiting team, but elected not to impose a penalty.

At the World Championships in 2010, the British Sonar team also missed out on gold through a last-minute protest involving two other boats, which impacted on their score.

In spite of their disappointment, 25-year-old Hannah Stodel is adamant that their time at the top of the podium will come again.

“It’s not ideal, but a medal’s a medal. We’re still going in the right direction.  Morally we know we were right, so we’ve got everything to play for.  We played the game fairly.

“Surely if we get all the bad luck out of the way now then next year will be easy-peasy.  We must be due some good luck, surely?”

“I think people are scared of us again, which we really love,” she continued.

“We sailed consistently and we’re going to be the team to have a look at next year, because this is really going to wind us up no end.

“This winter we’re going to be hammer down, and putting the hours in.  They’d better watch out!”

RYA Olympic manager Stephen Park added: “The outcome of the Sonar event was a bit disappointing really – just disappointing that the final day of the event has ended up in the protest room rather than on the water.

“However, at the end of the day, we have come away with three medals – one of each colour – and we are the only nation that has managed to win a medal in each event.  We’ve had a number of sailors through the course of the week who’ve been performing very well and have been fighting it out for the medals at the front of the fleets.

“It’s been a very tough competitive event – certainly the toughest IFDS Worlds in terms of competition that I can remember – and racing-wise on the water it’s been a pretty good.

“It’s been particularly great for all of our Skandia Team GBR sailors to have been at the front of the fleet, fighting it out for medal positions from day one right the way through until the end of the regatta.  They should be proud of their achievements and take that forward into next year.

“Certainly if we could deliver these results in 2012 with one medal in event we’ll be very happy indeed.”

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