North West athletes sail away with two medals in Tokyo 2020

  • Sturt Bithell's family and friends watched on in delight.

Rochdale sailor Stuart Bithell has claimed the gold medal in the men's 49er at the Tokyo Olympics, alongside his teammate Dylan Fletcher.

The pair went into the final medal race, where double points are awarded, in second, four points behind New Zealand's Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, but victory for Fletcher and Bithell and third for New Zealand saw them claim the title.

Fletcher and Bithell's biggest obstacle turned out to be Germany but, having taken the final turn in second, the British pair just edged over the finish line in front.

It is a first Olympic medal for Fletcher, who finished sixth with Alain Sign in the same class in Rio, while Bithell also took silver in the 470 class alongside Luke Patience at London 2012.

Bithell missed out to Fletcher and Sign for Rio, and the pair were rivals before deciding to team up in a bid to qualify for Tokyo.

The decision brought immediate dividends as they won European and world titles, and now the biggest prize of all.

The medal race was postponed from Monday, when a lack of wind forced racing to be cancelled for the day, and it was nip and tuck throughout a hugely exciting race.

Fletcher's fiancee, Charlotte Dobson, and her crewmate Saskia Tidey missed out on a medal in the women's 49er FX earlier, coming seventh in the medal race and sixth overall.

John Gimson and Anna Burnet picked up a silver medal in the mixed Nacra 17 class Credit: PA Images

Meanwhile, John Gimson from Cheshire won the silver medal in the mixed Nacra 17 class, alongside his sailing partner, Anna Burnet.

His family and friends gathered bright and early on Tuesday morning at Rudyard Lake Sailing Club in Staffordshire, to cheer him on!