Bay's Olympic medal hopes

By Kiri Gillespie, Amy Wiggins

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New Zealand's Sam Meech competes during the Laser men race at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
New Zealand's Sam Meech competes during the Laser men race at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Bay sailor Sam Meech is just hours out from one of the biggest races of his career and hopes are high he can bring home an Olympic medal.

Meech is in third place in the men's laser class heading in to tomorrow's medal race at 5.05am (NZT).

Tauranga Yacht and Boat Club commodore Nick Wrinch said he would be glued to the television to watch Sam's race in the morning.

''It's an exciting time for him and for us," Mr Wrinch said. ''He's done amazingly well. It's fantastic."

Mr Wrinch said there were some ''nasty currents" at Rio and there could often be strong swells with not a lot of wind.

''He's managed to go through the whole regatta with a cool head under pressure."

Mr Wrinch said the club was proud of not just Sam and his sister Molly, who is competing in in the 49erFX but also Bay sailors Peter Burling and Jason Saunders.

''There's a whole raft of them over there. I think the four over there from Tauranga stand a good chance of getting a medal. It's an exciting situation really. The yacht club doesn't know where to look."

Mr Wrinch said the athletes were doing so well and if any of them achieved a medal, it would be ''the ultimate".

World champion canoe sprinter Lisa Carrington's Olympic campaign will get underway tomorrow.

The Bay woman is aiming to make it two in a row by claiming gold in the K1 200m on Wednesday morning.

Her events start tomorrow with the individual women's K1 200m heats underway. The semi-final will also be held tomorrow with the final scheduled for Wednesday morning (NZT).

On Thursday morning her bid to claim gold in the K1 500m gets underway as the heats begin.

The prospect of repeating the double at Rio is daunting, but it's one Carrington believes she needs to keep progressing.

"I always knew that doing the 200 and 500m events is hard, and I'm pretty lucky I have such a challenge with the other competitors and the 500m being such a tough event," Carrington said.

"I'm just really happy to be challenged and having that carrot on the end of the stick, trying to chase something and just looking forward, always on the attack, trying to work harder. That's all you can ask for, that type of motivation."

Peter Burling and his partner Blair Tuke are also scheduled to race again in the 49er FX class tomorrow morning. They are in first place after their first six races.

jason Saunders and partner Gemma Jones are currently in fith place in the mixed Nacra 17 class ahead of the medal race on Wednesday.

Local Black Sticks Gemma Flynn, Samantha Charlton and Rose Keddell will also compete tomorrow morning as the New Zealand women's hockey team take on Germany in their quarter-final.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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