London, England – Australian Tom Slingsby and China's Xu Lijia earned sailing gold medals Monday, while Cyprus' Pavlos Kontides earned his country's first Olympic medal with a silver.
Xu's class, the Laser Radial (women's one-person dinghy), was extremely tight heading into the medal race. Four sailors were separated by just a point, including Ireland's Annalise Murphy.
She rounded the first mark in the lead, but faded back to ninth as Xu took over in front. Xu never relinquished first place and crossed the finish line as the winner.
"I am proud of the gold, especially as I'm in Britain, because Britain and European countries are good and I want to take this experience back to China so more can experience the beauty of this sailing," Xu said.
Xu finished the competition with 35 points, which are awarded in ascending order -- 1 for first, 2 for 2nd, and so on. Points are doubled in the medal race, then added to the total from the 10-race opening series.
The Netherlands' Marit Bouwmeester took second in the medal race to secure the silver medal with 37 points, while Belgium's Evi Van Acker was third Monday to take bronze.
Xu earned her second Olympic medal, but first gold. She won bronze in the one- person dinghy in 2008.
Slingsby is a four-time world champion, but hadn't medaled four years ago. He didn't let the opportunity slip by again, though. Because of a strong opening series in the Laser (men's one-person dinghy), he entered the medal race with a 14-point lead and needed only to finish in front of Kontides to secure gold.
So while Slingsby came in ninth in the medal race to finish with 43 points, Kontides was 10th and ended with 59 to take sliver. Cyprus first had an Olympic team in 1980, but had never medaled before Monday.
Sweden's Rasmus Myrgren was sixth in the Laser medal race and claimed bronze.
In non-medal action, the final two opening series races were held in the men's 49er (skiff), and the Australian duo of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen shored up their lead.
They have 48 points heading into Wednesday's medal race, while New Zealand's Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are second with 76.
The quarterfinal matchups for the women's Elliott 6m match racing competition are set, and Australia is the top seed after winning all of its round robin races.
The Australian crew, skippered by Olivia Price, will face the Netherlands, seeded eighth, when the knockout stage begins Tuesday. The United States is seeded fourth and faces Finland.
Also on Monday, the opening series in the men's 470 (two-person dinghy) continued. Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page of Australia are in first with two more races before the medal event.