Celebrations at Hampshire sailing club as Eilidh McIntyre wins gold in Tokyo

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The family of Olympic sailing gold medallist Eilidh McIntyre erupted in cheers as she crossed the finish line in the 470 class event.

She and partner Hannah Mills had secured a medal position ahead of the final race but their performance on Wednesday secured them the top position.

McIntyre, from Hayling Island, Hampshire, first sailed on a catamaran at just eight months old with her father, Mike McIntyre, himself a gold medallist.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
Eilidh McIntyre’s fiance Jonny Forer (left), father Mike McIntyre, and mother Caroline McIntyre watch on the big screen at Hayling Island Sailing Club (Steve Parsons/PA)

The family gathered with more than 100 friends and fellow sailors at Hayling Island Sailing Club to watch the 27-year-old claim her first gold.

The victory was met with jubilation, only to be quickly replaced by a tense atmosphere while the judges assessed a protest by the French team against Mills and McIntyre which was eventually dismissed.

Mr McIntyre told the PA news agency: “I am incredibly proud, extremely happy and very, very relieved.”

McIntyre’s mother, Caroline, said: “It means everything to her, it has been her life and her world since she was 11.

“You could see it in her reaction when she found out about the protest, she was distraught beyond words.”

Mrs McIntyre said she could not wait to welcome her daughter back home and added: “I shall probably be in the queue for a massive hug and to say how proud I am of her, super-proud of her, for both of the girls, it’s an amazing achievement.”

Mr McIntyre said his own gold medal had helped motivate his daughter.

“It sits in a little golden cabinet outside her bedroom so, as she was growing up, every time she went out she would go past it,” he said.

“She always said it gave her motivation; also, the fact it was in the family made it seem normal and achievable.”

Great Britain's Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre
Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre celebrate after winning the women’s 470 race (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

McIntyre’s fiance, Jonny Forer, from Old Portsmouth, said: “It’s absolutely amazing, it’s such a moment for her, it’s always been her dream. I’m so proud of her.

“It was spoilt a bit at the end by the French and their protest, but Hannah and Eilidh were vindicated.”

McIntyre first partnered with Sophie Weguelin in the 470 class to achieve World Cup podium finishes as well as bronze at the 470 European Championships in 2015.

She teamed up with Mills after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in which Mills had won gold alongside Saskia Clark.

The pair went on to win silver at the 2017 470 World Championships, before winning in Enoshima in 2019.

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