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Sailors inspire mini gold rush
By Doug Conway, AAP Senior Correspondent
22:11 AEST Fri Aug 10 2012

Inspired by a third sailing gold medal, Australia's Olympians are flying home with a wet sail after a sluggish start to the London Games.

Malcolm Page and Mathew Belcher won the men's 470 dinghy title, securing victory by finishing second in Friday's medal race.

It was their nation's sixth Olympic crown in five days, a mini gold rush which propelled Australia to a respectable ninth on the medals table with seven gold, 13 silver and 10 bronze.

The Aussie pair's win ensured Australia will topple Britain to finish top of the medal table in the sailing regatta at Weymouth and also made Page Australia's most successful Olympic sailor, with a second career gold medal.

Australia nurses further high hopes in the women's match racing at Weymouth, as well as in diving, canoeing, athletics and BMX racing over the final three days of Olympic competition.

"The team is riding on a good wave of emotions," chef de mission Nick Green said on Friday.

"It's alive and well. The feeling in the team is still very strong.

"Traditionally we win more medals in the first week but these Games are producing more in the back half of the competition."

Australia is still shy of its target of fifth, although it stands seventh in terms of overall medals won rather than just gold.

By that measure, Green said the team was performing "right up to expectations" - seventh or eighth place with around 35 medals, according to its benchmark of predictions at the end of last year.

"We are in a really good place, with some good events still to come," he said.

Australia received a surprise boost on Thursday from a kayaking quartet of lifesavers - Tate Smith, David Smith, Jake Clear and Murray Stewart - in the K4 1000m at Eton Dorney.

They headed a complete set of medals for Australia, with the youngest member of Australia's London team, 16-year-old diver Brittany Broben, taking silver in the 10m platform and the women's water polo team claiming bronze.

Broben produced a brilliant final dive to emerge from a log-jam of divers and claim the nation's first diving medal of these Games, behind China's Chen Ruolin.

"It feels like a dream but I never want to wake up from it," Broben said.

But an anticipated hockey gold medal went begging, with the Kookaburras stumbling in an Olympic semi-final for the second time in a row despite going in as clear favourites, relinquishing a 2-1 lead early in the second half to lose 4-2 to Germany.

And Australia's women basketballers also had to settle for bronze at best after blowing a gutsy half-time lead to lose their semi-final 86-73 to the powerhouse United States.

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Opening Ceremony
Archery
Athletics
Badminton
Basketball
Beach Volleyball
Boxing
BMX
Cycling
Diving
Equestrian
Fencing
Football
Gymnastics
Handball
Hockey
Judo
Modern Pentathlon
Rowing/Canoe/Kayak
Sailing
Shooting
Swimming
Synchro
Table Tennis
Taekwondo
Tennis
Triathlon
Volleyball
Water Polo
Weightlifting
Wrestling
Closing ceremony
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