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Britain's sailors added a fifth medal to their Athens tally on Thursday, but Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks were not able to improve on the bronze medal position they took into the final race in the 49er class and had to settle for third behind Spain and the Ukraine.
“We really came here to win that gold medal. That is why we joined as a team and that is what it has been all about, so we are disappointed,” Draper said. But Draper and Hiscocks will be the last Britons to climb on the sailing podium as another very difficult day in the star class for Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell has finally ended their hopes of a medal.
Although the Britons made up ground in the ninth race with a seventh place that lifted them to fifth in the overall standings, they trailed in 17th and last in the 10th race, pushing them back to seventh overall and an unassailable 20 points adrift of the Canadians in the bronze medal position.
* A fortuitous meeting for the FT on an Olympic shuttle bus on Thursday helped confirm that the race of the Games so far, the men's 200 metres freestyle, could be repeated in the pool in Beijing in 2008. Race winner Ian Thorpe of Australia said at his press conference that he expected the bronze medallist, US 18-year-old Michael Phelps, to be there, given his relative youth, and that he hoped silver medallist and Sydney winner four years ago Pieter van den Hoogenband would go to China too. “Yes, indeed,” confirmed the Dutch swimmer.
* London's bid to host the 2012 Games suffered a minor setback on Thursday when four-time gold medallist Matthew Pinsent lost his seat on the International Olympic Committee. Pinsent has been a member since 2001. He temporarily took over Jan Zelezny's seat on the IOC when the Czech javelin champion stepped down to concentrate on his training.
But Pinsent lost out in a vote in which Olympic athletes chose their representatives on the IOC Athletes Commission for the next eight years. Zelezny was voted on alongside Frankie Fredericks of Namibia, Morocco's 1,500m gold medallist Hicham El Guerrouj and Egyptian swimmer Rania Elwani. While Pinsent would have been disqualified from voting on the 2012 Games in Singapore next July, his role as an IOC member would have enabled him to help the London team persuade his fellow members.
* The mystery of the missing drug tests of Greek runners Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou is to be investigated by the the International Association of Athletics Federations, it was announced on Thursday. The monthly meeting of the athletics governing body has appointed a three-man team, IAAF president Lamine Diack, senior vice-president Arne Ljungqvist and US lawyer Bob Hersch, to look into the cases.
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