August 18, 2016 / 11:21 PM / 3 years ago

Sailing: Croatia win men's 470, country's first sailing gold

2016 Rio Olympics - Sailing - Victory Ceremony - Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470 - Victory Ceremony - Marina de Gloria - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 17/08/2016. Sime Fantela (CRO) of Croatia and Igor Marenic (CRO) of Croatia pose with their gold medals. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The Croatian duo of helmsman Sime Fantela and crewman Igor Marenic held on to win gold in the men’s 470-class, concentrating on covering their nearest rivals rather than winning the final test to ensure their place at the top of the Olympic podium.

Their eighth-place finish in the medal race was enough to ensure a strong 15-point lead over silver medalists Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan of New Zealand and secure Croatia’s first-ever Olympic sailing gold.

Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis of Greece took bronze.

In the women’s 470, Britain’s Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark finished eighth out of 10 in the medal race, to win a gold they had sewn up on points before the test started.

New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, clear favorites before the Olympic Regatta started 10 days ago, finished third in the medal race, taking consolation in silver, the highest spot on offer to the Kiwi duo after two disastrous disqualifications in the opening rounds.

France’s Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance won the bronze.

In the men’s 49er class Peter Burling and Blair Tuke sailed to a medal race win, but had already clinched gold on points before the race started with one of the 2016 Olympics’ most dominant sailing performances over the 13-race 49er regatta.

Silver went to Nathan Outteridge and Ian Jensen of Australia. Germany’s Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel took bronze

Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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