SUPPORTERS of Sunderland sailor John Robertson have spoken of their pride after seeing him take to the waves at the Paralympics.
The three-person keelboat Sonar team were on course to scoop a bronze, but due to a four-point penalty John and his team were knocked from third place to fifth.
The 40-year-old skipper was leading Team GB along with Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas, in the final day of the London 2012 Paralympic Sailing Regatta.
The final race, number 11, was cancelled due to no wind and so the medals were awarded based on the previous sails.
The British team incurred the penalty points for a minor off-the-water incident between an event technical officer and a member of the team support staff.
John, who was disabled in a motorbike accident in 1994, is a member of the Sunderland Yacht Club, which has supported him throughout the competition.
Alan Dixon, commodore at Sunderland Yacht Club, said the group was extremely proud of their Paralympian member and thought that the penalty seemed quite petty.
Alan, 62, from Roker, said: “It seems to be a bit harsh.”
“The oarsman who looks after the boat seems to have misunderstood what the official was saying and they have got the penalty as a result.”
British Sailing Team officials are examining what avenues of appeal they have to contest the jury’s decision and hopefully secure a medal for Team GB.
But Alan said that the club were still very proud of John’s achievements.
Alan said: “We are absolutely delighted for John.
“It’s absolutely tremendous to see him in the Paralympics.
“He has worked so hard. The Paralympics are on medal that he was missing and it would have been nice to see him get one, but he took part and did us proud.”
Alan added: “He would have been really made up to get a medal.
“It’s the one thing in his Paralympic sporting life that he would like.”
“He has done such a wonderful job representing Sunderland and team GB. We wish him all the very best.”