Christchurch's Emma Wilson storms into windsurfing Olympic gold position
CHRISTCHURCH windsurfer Emma Wilson has stormed into gold medal contention with two wins on the third day of racing this morning (Wednesday) at the Tokyo Olympics.
Wilson, the youngest member of the UK sailing team, started the day in second place, but two firsts out of three races took her two points clear of second-placed Yunxiu Lu from China and 16 clear of France's Charline Picon.
The RS:X European Championships bronze and silver medal winner made a perfect start to race seven, leading from the first mark until the finish line.
In race eight, Wilson battled back from fourth at the first mark before leading from the front to put herself in first place overall.
Wilson suffered a false start in the day's final race. Fortunately, her impressive performances in the preceding races means she remains in a commanding position.
Wilson said: "It was really good today, I had two really good races, but I was just a bit over the line in the last one. I don't know, I'm happy.
"I'm just trying to focus on my thing and go around inflatable masts fast, and that's all I can do. Just keep smiling."
The Olympic débutante, who is ranked number four in the world, follows in her mother's footsteps, Penny, who competed at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, also in windsurfing.
Wilson added: "I was going quickly. I wasn't really expecting to go that fast, but I know me and the Danish girl have been training really hard in Weymouth with the group of boys at home, and we have been fast there, so it was a bit like Weymouth out here today.
"What did I do on my day off? Sleep. Eat. I watched a lot of the Olympics, actually. Watching the British swimming and winning the gold medal. I mean, I'm just a massive sports fan, so it's pretty cool. I think the Olympics just inspires anyone to do what they are doing, so I'm just going to keep trying to push hard and enjoy it.
"I like every condition, but today was really, really nice. Perfect windsurfing conditions."
Wilson has enjoyed success in Japan in the past after she finished fourth in an Olympic testing event to take fifth in the RS:X World Cup in 2019.
Wilson's first taste of a world title was at the age of just 12 when she took the U15 Techno 293 World Championship. After moving to the Olympic class, Wilson's success continued with the RS:X Youth Worlds title in 2014.
After just missing out on the Youth Worlds title to future Rio 2016 bronze medallist Russia's Stefania Elfutina in 2015, Wilson would show her drive to succeed coming back to win consecutive Youth Worlds golds in 2016 and 2017.
This year's RS:X competition will be the class's final Olympic Games after World Sailing announced that governing bodies should make the switch from the traditional RS:X to foiling in preparation for Paris 2024.
Wilson will take to the water again on Thursday for races 10 to 12, with the double points medal race on Saturday.