22 Aug 2008

Tough race as Ashley takes gold

1:13 pm on 22 August 2008

The New Zealand board sailor Tom Ashley says he was unaware he had won gold after coming home third in his RS:X medal race in Beijing.

Ashley won the gold medal by a point from the Frenchman Julien Bontemps with Israel's Shahar Zubari third.

Ashley says he had to stay on his toes through the race and wasn't aware of the result until the last minute.

But he says his victory has given him the most incredible feeling after an insanely tough last race.

The weather gave the competitoros a little bit of everything this week, but Ashley says he tried to sail as consistently as he could.

He's the seventh New Zealander to win a gold medal in sailing at an Olympics and the third New Zealand gold medallist at the Beijing Games, after the Evers-Swindell twins and Valerie Vili.

Ashley also becomes the third New Zealander to win a gold medal in board sailing behind Bruce Kendall in 1988 and Barbara Kendall in 1992.

Ashley's coach is Grant Beck, who previously helped boardsailors the Kendalls to Olympic success.

Barbara Kendall finished sixth in the women's event.