SHANDON sailor Anna Burnet showed plenty of the fighting spirit she’ll need at the Olympics next summer to secure a podium place at the Paris 2024 test event at the weekend.

Burnet and her sailing partner John Gimson fought their way back from a slow start to secure bronze in Marseille following Sunday’s medal race – a useful platform to build from as the British pair look to go one better than the silver medal they won at the Tokyo Games two years ago.

The duo – the only British pair competing in the Nacra 17 mixed multi-hull category – took a while to get up to speed, and though they began day two with a third place finish in the fourth of the opening series’ 12 races, a 12th-place finish in the last race of the second day left Burnet and Gimson with a fight on their hands.

But days three and four saw a notable upturn in their fortunes, with the final day in particular catapulting them up the leaderboard with a fourth, first and third place.

And a third place finish in the medal race on Sunday saw the duo finish with a net score of 57 points, earning them the final place on the podium behind winners Gianluigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei of Italy and silver medallists Sinem Kurtbay and Akseli Keskinen of Finland.

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Burnet and Gimson’s medal was one of five secured by Britain’s elite sailors in the course of the eight-day regatta as 14 of the country’s best dinghy, windsurf and kite racers took on the world’s best in Marseille, the host city for the Paris 2024 sailing competition.

The eight-day regatta was the first of four test events run by Paris 2024 organisers to fine-tune their processes – and for the athletes it was a dress rehearsal for the Games with only one entry per nation in each of the ten classes.

It was also a key performance indicator in the run-up to Paris 2024, where Britain will aim to maintain its title as the world’s most successful Olympic sailing nation.

RYA performance director Mark Robinson said: “It’s been a great event here in Marseille with a range of conditions to test all involved. With so many equipment changes and new sailors this cycle it was important for us to equal the 2019 Test Event haul of five medals as a platform for the Games proper next year.”

Marseille threw plenty of conditions at the sailors over the week, from light, fickle winds to Provence’s famous mistral breeze.

Combined with temperatures of up to 37 degrees Celsius it made for tricky racing conditions but provided a useful insight into what the sailors may face next summer.

British sailors finished in the top ten in nine of the classes.

And there is little time for Burnet and Gimson to draw breath; next month they are off to the Netherlands to compete in the World Sailing Championships in The Hague, with the British pair eager to regain the gold medal they won in Oman in 2021, having had to settle for fourth place at last year’s event in Nova Scotia.