By Nick Butler

Robert Scheidt has made a remarkable return to the laser class ©Getty ImagesNovember 24 - Brazilian superstar Robert Scheidt crowned a remarkable comeback to the laser class today with a victory at the discipline's World Championships in Oman.

The 40-year-old won eight world titles in the class between 1995 and 2005, as well as Olympic gold at Atlanta 1996 before slipping to the runner's up spot behind arch-rival Sir Ben Ainslie of Great Britain four years later in Sydney.

After winning Olympic gold again, in Sir Ben's absence, at Athens 2004, he switched to the star class to team up with Bruno Prada and promptly won further world titles in 2007, 2011 and 2012, as well as silver and bronze medals at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 respectively.

One of the greatest Brazilian athletes ever, he carried his country's flag at Beijing and was part of the delegation which arrived in Rio de Janeiro with the Olympic flag following the conclusion of London 2012.

With a home Games on the horizon he has since been tempted back into the laser class, but even he could not have expected to reach the summit again so quickly.

The Brazilian started the last race in the series just one point ahead of Cypriot rival Pavlos Kontides, but put in a flawless performance to win by two boat lengths, raising the Brazilian flag as he crossed the line to a round of cheers and applause from spectators and other competitors.

Robert Scheidt is perhaps best known for his epic laser class battles with fellow sailing great Sir Ben Ainslie ©Getty ImagesRobert Scheidt is perhaps best known for his epic laser class battles with fellow sailing great Sir Ben Ainslie ©Getty Images

"This feels more special than any of the other Laser Worlds I have won," Scheidt reflected afterwards.

"I am at a different stage of my life - being a dad and being away from laser sailing all these years makes it more special.

"I didn't know what to expect when I came back into the class but winning the Worlds after a tough seven days means a lot.

"Rio [2016] is still a long way off and I shall have to see how my body holds up over the next few years but the next Olympic Games in Rio is definitely how I want to end my career."

Kontides repeated his London 2012 performance in taking the silver medal, while Germany's Philipp Buhl won bronze after edging out Rutger van Schaardenburg of the Netherlands.

In Rio, Scheidt could yet go head-to-head with Australia's reigning champion Tom Slingsby, absent in Oman after focusing on the 2013 America's Cup.

Like Scheidt's old sparring partner Sir Ben, as strategist Slingsby played a key role in Team Oracle's remarkable comeback victory in September. 

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