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Iceland become unlikely first European gold winners

Iceland become unlikely first European gold winners
FILE PHOTO: Golf - The Celtic Manor Wales Open - The Celtic Manor Resort, Newport, South Wales - 1/6/07 Iceland's Birgir Hafthorsson in action during the second round Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Lee Mills/File Photo   -   Copyright  AI Project(Reuters)
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GLASGOW (Reuters) – An Icelandic quartet became the unlikely first golf gold medallists in the new multi-sports European Championships when they won the mixed team foursomes strokeplay event at Gleneagles on Saturday.

The novel format, backed by the European Tour, saw the two Icelandic partnerships of Birgir Hafthorsson with Valdis Thora Jonsdottir, and Axel Boasson with Olafia Kristinsdottir, win with a three-under par score of 141 over the 36 holes played.

It was Iceland’s first gold of the entire multi-sports European Championships as they finished one stroke ahead of a silver medal-winning British quartet and two clear of Swedish bronze medallists.

“Golf is growing all the time in Iceland,” Boasson said. “I wouldn’t say it is the biggest professional sport we have, but it is played by the most people.”

Boasson had joked before the Championships that the 42-year-old Hafthorsson might get on the drums and orchestrate the sort of thunderclap celebration that Iceland’s football fans have made their own if they won a medal.

There is still time for that to ring round the esteemed Gleneagles course should the pair, who are in the semi-finals, also win the men’s team event on Sunday.

“We have a great chance of another gold,” Hafthorsson said. “Why not? We are full of confidence.”

(Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

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