Surrey Olympians add to GB medal haul

April 2021 Selection Regatta

Liam Heath taking in part of the selection regatta earlier this year - Credit: © 2021 A Edmonds

It's a Bronze in Tokyo for Guildford's Liam Heath MBE

Team GB's most successful canoeist, Liam Heath MBE, has added a keenly-fought for Bronze medal to his already impressive tally of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.

The defending Olympic champion, who was born in Guildford and trains at Wey Kayak Club, finished third in the 200m single kayak after a frantic scramble to the line. Now aged 37, he is one of elder statesmen of Team GB, but speaking after what was surely one of his most dramatic placings, has not ruled out taking to the water once more when the games head to Paris in 2024.

Dramatic finish sees British pair take gold in Tokyo

Spending his childhood floating around in a dinghy on the Thames has certainly paid off for Surrey sailor Dylan Fletcher who, along with sailing partner Stuart Bithell, has won Olympic Gold at the Tokyo Games. 

The pair, ranked number one in the world, clinched the top spot in the 49er Class in a dramatic finish that saw the British sailors edge out rivals Germany by just centimetres. Their win marks the 12th gold medal for Team GB. 

Former child star Dylan, who swapped a treading the boards for a life on the ocean’s wave, grew up in Thames Ditton with his parents who were both in showbusiness. Speaking to Surrey Life recently, the 33-year-old took up sailing after spending one summer with his best summer sailing a ‘tiny’ dinghy on the River Thames. 

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‘I just loved going out on the water... I really enjoyed the challenge of going through the various locks at Hampton Court.’ 

Photo by Lloyd Images

Dylan and Stuart now crowned Olympic champions - Credit: Lloyd Images;RYA

Dylan made his Olympic debut in 2016 with then race partner Alain Sign and finished in sixth place. Speaking before he left for Tokyo, Dylan told Surrey Life: ‘You’re always looking to win gold. I think ultimately, we would be happy with any medal.’ 

Following Dylan’s success, it will be the turn of his fiancée Charlotte Dobson who is scheduled to take part in the women’s 49erFX event later this week. 

Meanwhile, on the hockey field, Surrey’s residents are keeping the flag flying high in the women’s competitions. Leah Wilkinson, a history teacher at Ewell Castle School and her partner Sarah Jones, who are based in Epsom, along with Guildford’s Izzy Petter competed in a thrilling nail biting match against India to secure the Bronze medal.

Elsewhere, Shepperton-based archer, who at just 19 is one of the youngest members of Team GB, finished fifth in the Men’s Team Archery competition while Guildford-born swimmer Jacob Peters finished sixth in the men’s 100m butterfly. 

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* Additional reporting Andy Greeves