ENOSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) – French windsurfer Thomas Goyard thought he had blown his chance of an Olympic medal when he was disqualified from Saturday’s RS:X windsurfing medal race, but the disqualification of two rivals saw him secure a silver despite his transgression.
With Dutch racer Kiran Badloe way out in front, Goyard found himself in a dog-fight for silver and bronze with Italy’s Mattia Camboni and Piotr Myszka of Poland, but all three were disqualified from the race for starting too early.
Camboni was the first to go, followed by the Pole, and to Goyard’s surprise he was also pulled out of the race by officials, leading to an anxious wait to see if his overall points total would see him hang on to second place.
“I was a bit lost, but finally I understood that I still had chances for medals … it was a very long, long end of the race for me,” Goyard told reporters following the medal ceremony.
“I was able to celebrate when I saw the face of my coach — he was crying red, and I thought, OK, this means I still have a medal.”
The Frenchman could scarcely believe what had happened.
“I think this is one of my craziest races ever. In a race seven years ago there was four guys (disqualified) in the medal race, but that was less important – this is the Olympics.”
The 29-year-old says he is now plotting a course to the 2024 Olympics in Paris, where the RS:X windsurfing class will be replaced by the IQ Foil, and a chance to defeat the Dutch.
“I want to compete for the next three years on the IQ Foil… maybe the IQ Foil will be a chance for somebody to beat the Netherlands, but I think they are at the top there anyway,” he said.
(Reporting by Philip O’Connor; Editing by Ken Ferris)