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British sailors aim for gold letter day; to be fell the there always.

HANNAH Mills and Saskia Clark are virtually assured of a silver medal at London 2012, but it is a gold medal - and a golden postbox - that is the aim.

The British pair (right), have made remarkable progress since teaming up early last year and are guaranteed a medal due to their tally after the opening ten-race series.

They are assured of silver as long as they are not disqualified or black flagged in tomorrow's medal race, which they enter level at the top of the standings alongside New Zealand's Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie.

If they finish the race ahead of the Kiwis, Clark and Mills will take gold and, furthermore, the Royal Mail will paint a post box the same colour in each of their home towns.

"Everyone wants a gold post box," Mills laughed. "Seriously, though, I don't really know what to feel at the moment.

"I am just a bit stunned, to be honest. It kind of hasn't sunk in at all, although that is probably a good thing.

"I don't really want anything to sink in until Friday's over but it is just wicked. We have had such a great week.

"It has been really stressful but our teamwork has always been great and we really pulled together. "We came here to win and we came in wanting to head into the medal race with a good chance of winning. We've done that so we just have to finish it off."

Their gold prospects had not looked quite so good yesterday afternoon as the Kiwis opened up a dominant-looking eight-point lead after race nine.

However, Aleh and Powrie, by their own admission, had a "nightmare" final fleet race and sailed home 18th way behind the British pair, who finished second to level things at the top.

"Our first race didn't go to plan," Clark said. "We got around the top mark in reasonably good shape and then dropped a few places over the race. That wasn't what we were hoping for but we man-aged to get our heads in gear for the second race.

"There wasn't any opportunity because of our first race to play around with the Kiwis or the Dutch. We just had to sail our best, which we did and finally they had a shocker." Mills and Clark are not the only British sailing aiming for gold, for Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell - mathematically assured of silver - will be doing the same in the men's 470 medal race today.

That, though, is it in terms of British sailing medal hopes as the women's match racing team and 49er boys of Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes saw their podium dreams ended yesterday.

The latter have had an indifferent regatta, only managing to show flashes of their true ability, and came into their medal race yesterday six points off the bronze medal - the only podium position yet to be decided.

However, Morrison and Rhodes fell short in a tense race on the Nothe Course and finished fifth overall as Denmark's Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang secured bronze, Australia's Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen taking the gold.

"It is about inches and the inches weren't quite there for us today, but ultimately the reason we didn't win a medal is because we made a couple of mistakes earlier in the week," Morrison said. "I can point to two incidents that cost us 24 points, a fairly definitive reason as to why we haven't won a medal.

"The frustrating thing is it is not because we're not good enough, it is because we made a couple of mistakes, which I suppose makes it hurt more.

"In China [where we finished ninth] we weren't really good enough whereas here I think we were.

"The trouble is with the Olympics you either win a medal or you don't. We haven't, which sucks."

Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor will also leave London 2012 without a medal after a narrow 3-2 defeat to Russia yesterday
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 9, 2012
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