LUCY Macgregor believes the match race girls were robbed of a shot at Olympic glory after a controversial quarter-final defeat to Russia yesterday.

The Poole skipper, alongside Annie Lush and sister Kate, saw her hopes of a London 2012 Elliott 6m medal dashed in the protest room following an intense day on the waters of Weymouth and Portland.

Going into the second day of their best-of-five clash against Ekaterina Skudina, Elena Syuzeva and Elena Oblova locked at 1-1, ‘MacLush’ started with a win to move to within one race of a semi-final berth.

But in a dramatic race four, it seemed as if Lucy Macgregor had pulled off a masterstroke to push the Russian boat wide at the line.

Both crews made a dive for the victory, but the photo finish went in favour of the Russians to take the match to a final race.

And after a mistake at the mark before the final downwind leg, the Poole trio found themselves unable to make up enough ground on their rivals.

Skipper Lucy Macgregor decided to take the outcome of race four to the protest room, but despite there being barely a cigarette paper between the two boats on the line, the race committee ruled in favour of the Russians.

Lucy Macgregor said: “We sailed well over the past two days and we are pleased with how we picked up our game, not that we ever had any doubt that we could do that.

“We put up a really good fight, as did the Russians, and we thought we had won that fourth race, hence why we protested – we wouldn’t have done so otherwise.

“The race committee didn’t take our evidence so the result stands and the Russians advance through to the semis and unfortunately that’s our medal hopes over.

“We definitely showed up on the water and are disappointed by that result.

“We feel pretty strongly that we did win that fourth race but unfortunately that’s not what has been ruled.”

The result means the girls now progress through to the fifth-eighth sail-off today where they will first of all face France, skippered by Claire Leroy, in a best-of-five match.

The other sail-off will see Anna Tunnicliffe’s USA team go head-to-head with the Renee Groeneveld-led Dutch team, with the winner of each encounter then competing for fifth and sixth place and the two losers battling it out for seventh and eighth overall.

Lush said: “It’s pretty hard to think about the sail-off right now. Nobody ever really wants to be in the five-to-eight and that’s the honest truth, but we’re with some good company.”

Lucy Macgregor added: “It’s been an awesome four years and you know we did sail really well. We just missed out on race four which feels like a massive missed opportunity right now.

“But we really raised our game in the quarter-finals and we will be proud of that in a few days to come.”