Stefania Elfutina won the first Russian medal in sailing in 20 years

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An athlete from Yeisk, Stefania Elfutina, became a bronze medalist at the Olympic Games in Rio in RS:X class. The 19-year-old windsurfer brought Russia its first medal in sailing in the last 20 years.

«Quiet joy inside, shouting on the water, insanely happy. Not the best race, didn't remember the points, then I was told I was third and there was crazy happiness. This medal is very important for me and for Russia to show that we have seas, weather conditions, that we can be a strong team in sailing»," Yelfutina told reporters.

She also said she intended to compete in the Tokyo Olympics.

Yelfutina had consistently good results in the preliminary races: she finished in the medal podium four times and in the top ten six times, dropping out only once, a result that was thrown out according to the rules of the competition.

Stefania came in second place to the RS:X leader Flavia Tartalini of Italy. The Russian was unlucky early in the medal race: she carelessly went back and touched Brittany Shaw, she got a penalty and was the last to finish in tenth place.

What happened at the start of the race? «The first time, I understand why I got spun»: I was a little sloppy in the back and touched a Briton. And the second time I just didn't understand what happened, why the red flag was lit in front of me. I guess I was just caught up in the excitement and I stopped controlling myself because of my emotions. And then suddenly I realized that the red flag was for me, I had to make one more turn!

But the athlete didn't give up: she managed to win back three positions and finish seventh, having left her chief rival - Flavia Tartalini behind. This was enough for the bronze medal.

Stefania said that she managed to overtake her rivals thanks to the ability to keep the board in planing position longer than others. The wind which was not too strong and did not allow the other competitors to speed up played to her advantage.

«Did the lack of wind interfere? It was a medium wind. And when we went down after the first sign, we could hardly "glide". You could say this is one of my biggest strengths. I can keep my board on plane longer than others».

Elfutina scored 69 points in the final table. China's Chen Peina got silver in women windsurfing (66 points), and Charlene Picon of France got gold (64 points).

It is Russia's first medal in sailing in the last 20 years. In 1996 our team led by Georgy Shaiduko won silver in the «Soling class».

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