SHANDON sailor Anna Burnet has admitted that a bronze medal in the first major regatta of the new year came as a huge relief after a “really tough” week.

Burnet and her team-mate John Gimson dug deep to secure a podium finish in the medal race for the Nacra 17 mixed multi-hull class on the final day of the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma, Mallorca – the traditional season opener for all the Olympic sailing classes.

A tricky week in the 48-boat fleet saw the British pair, silver medallists at the Tokyo Olympics and already confirmed on the plane to Paris for the Games this summer, drop to fourth overall after the final day’s fleet racing, with a 24th-place finish in the final event before the medal race putting their hopes of a medal in real doubt.

But Burnet and Gimson showed the determination that has become their trademark over the years to finish fourth in the final event.

That was enough to secure them bronze behind two Italian pairs – Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti, who beat the Brits to gold at both the last Olympics and at last summer’s World Championships in the Netherlands, and silver medallists Gianluigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei.

Burnet, 31, said: “I’m relieved we managed to execute the medal race we needed to to get on to the podium and get a medal at the end of what’s been a really tough week for us.

“It’s a good feeling, and it gives us some confidence. We’ve always said that it’s not always going to be your week, but if you’re able to grind out a result and get onto the podium in those tough weeks then anything’s possible in a good week.”

Burnet and Gimson’s bronze was one of three medals brought home by the British contingent at the regatta, with Micky Beckett leading the way by securing a dominant gold in the men’s dinghy class with a day to spare, his third successive Princess Sofia Trophy victory.

Young gun Matilda Nicholls also won bronze, her first medal at senior level, in the ILCA 6 category.

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