Laser Radial medal race nail-biter

Carlo Borlenghi / / FIV
China's Lijia Xu takes gold, poor Annalise Murphy goes home with nothing
While in some classes like the RS:X Men, 49er and 470 Men there are breakaway leaders, this was decidedly not the case in the Laser Radials, which, based on the points score going into the medal race, has perhaps surprisingly proved to be the most competitive sailing class at London 2012. Four sailors – China’s Lijia Xu, Belgium’s Evi van Acker, the Netherlands’ Marit Bouwmeister and Ireland’s Annalise Murphy - were fighting for the lead just a point apart at the start of the day. All were capable, and deserved, to claim the gold medal and devastatingly, one would go home without anything around her neck. Understandably the Laser Radial medal race was a nail biter from start to finish, as the sailors' medal prospects changed second by second. The key move for gold came early on when shortly after the start Lijia Xu was first to tack off and, on her lonesome, headed for the right side, followed subsequently by Evi van Acker and Mexico’s Tania Elias Calles. This move appeared to work well for the Chinese sailor, until the Irish express, Annalise Murphy stormed around the top mark just ahead of her.   On the run Britain’s Ali Young pulled into the lead, but Xu then pulled forwards to round the mark just ahead, with Bouwmeister third, Murphy ninth and Evi van Acker bringing up the rear. On the next beat Xu repeated what she had done on the first beat, but this time with Finland’s Sari Multala also trying the right, and at the cross, Xu was leading with Evi van Acker who had done well on the right on the latter half of the beat, pulling her up to fourth at the top mark, with Murphy having regained second. On the second run, all of the four contenders were into the