Sailor Slingsby hopes to spark Aussie gold rush

Sailor Tom Slingsby won just Australia's second gold medal of the Olympics on Monday and hoped his success would inspire his country's flagging campaign.

Slingsby, the five-time world champion, clinched the Laser one-person dinghy class title and put behind him the misery of his 2008 Olympics where he ended in 22nd position.

Australia had gone into Monday's 10th full day of action with just one gold, secured by their women's 4x100m freestyle relay swimming team, a meagre return which had left the squad struggling in the medals table behind Kazakhstan, North Korea and trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand

"We've got plenty of medals, but unfortunately just off the top. I'm glad I could get there and hopefully this kickstarts us into action," said Slingsby.

"I'm predicting four gold (in sailing). I think we'll be the top nation here."

China's Xu Lijia won the women's Laser gold with Dutchwoman Marit Bouwmeester taking silver and Evi Van Acker of Belgium winning bronze.

Shanghai-based Xu, 25, added the Olympic title to the world crown she won in 2006.

Van Acker had been fourth in the overall standings ahead of Monday's last race in the series, but snatched bronze from Ireland's Annalise Murphy.

"I didn't have a very good start so tacked to the right - I know where my strengths are. I made the most of everything today," said Xu.

"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."

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