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Proud Kontides hails ‘incredible’ silver
CYPRUS sailor Pavlos Kontides made history for Cyprus yesterday when he claimed the island’s first ever medal at an Olympic Games.
The 22-year-old finished second in the men's Laser class final at Weymouth and Portland, securing the silver medal.
“I have no words to describe how I feel. I do not know what to say. I feel incredible, wonderful. I am so proud of all the Cypriot people and my family,” said a visibly-delighted Kontides.
Kontides came into the medal race trailing world champion Australian Tom Slingsby by 14 points and while the silver medal was already secured, he needed to win the race and hope Slingsby slipped to eighth place or worse on the day to walk away with gold.
However, the Australian was quick to get himself in front of the man from Limassol in a bid to keep him away from the front of the fleet, where he could potentially challenge for gold.
“This is an amazing moment. The entire country should celebrate. I do not believe what I have achieved. I think that only once I return to Cyprus and share the joy with my people will I understand what I have actually done,” added Kontides who finished in tenth place yesterday, one behind the Australian, leaving him trailing by 16 points overall.
“I have worked very hard and stopped my studies to be here today. Nothing could discourage me, not even all the injuries. I was confident that I could do it and I want to thank everyone who helped me, especially my family,” said the 22-year-old who suffered both back and hand injuries during preparations for the Olympics.
“A wise man said that it is more difficult staying on top then getting there in the first place. I like that challenge and I hope that with better support I can get gold in Rio,” he concluded.
With Slingsby and Kontides wrapping up the top two spots, it was a straight battle between Sweden's Rasmus Myrgren and Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic for the bronze, the Swede doing well to move up from tenth to fourth before blocking the Croatian and keeping him behind.