Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic of Croatia sail during the men's 470 class race of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games Sailing events in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 11 August 2016.
Photograph: EPA/NIC BOTHMA

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic delivered Croatia its first-ever Olympic sailing gold medal on Thursday, dethroning reigning champion Australia in the men's 470 class.

Before the Rio Games, the closest a Croatian sailor had ever gotten to a medal at the Olympics was fourth place. Earlier this year, Fantela and Marenic had also denied Australia, which took gold at the 2008 and 2012 Games, its seventh consecutive world title.

Fantela and Marenic only finished eighth in the last 470 race in Rio de Janeiro's Guanabara Bay, but had done well enough in earlier races to clinch the title.

This was the six medal won by Croatian athletes at the 2016 Summer Olympics, comprising four golds and two silvers.

Australia's Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan took silver, while Greece's Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis won bronze. The two teams finished second-to-last and last in Thursday's race, which took place under sunny skies and with winds ranging from 14 to 19 knots.

In the women's 470 class, Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark clinched the second Rio sailing gold for Britain. The pair, which won silver at the London Olympics four years ago, already had done well enough ahead of their last race to guarantee them the title.

London champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie from New Zealand took silver this time around, after gliding to third place in Thursday's race behind Slovenia and the Netherlands.

The bronze medal in Rio went to French sailors Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance. They finished sixth in Thursday's race, which saw winds of at least 17 knots.

Both 470 races had originally been due to take place on Wednesday, but were postponed due to insufficient wind.

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