Kiri is a digital journalist for bayofplentytimes.co.nz.

Bay parents' anxious wait for final race

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Olympic sailors Molly Meech, left, and Alexandra Maloney, right, will race for gold today. Photo/file
Olympic sailors Molly Meech, left, and Alexandra Maloney, right, will race for gold today. Photo/file

It's the stuff most sporting parents dream of - having two children compete in the Olympic Games.

Two days after Tauranga sailor Sam Meech, 25, claimed bronze in the men's laser race, his younger sister Molly will race for gold at the Rio Olympics tomorrow morning.

Molly, 23, will represent New Zealand at the Games when she and sailing partner Alex Malony compete in the 49er FX medal race at 6.20am (NZT).

Rio is the first Olympic Games for the Meech siblings. If Molly makes a podium finish, she and her brother will make New Zealand Olympic history as medal-winning siblings in the same Games.

Parents Simon and Deb Meech have joined their children in Brazil. The lead up to Molly's race was ''very exciting'', Ms Meech said.

''[We were] very nervous watching Sam's medal race and we are so pleased for him and his coach Mark (Howard), who has worked with him for the last four years,'' Ms Meech said.

''[It was] lovely to see him so happy on the podium.''

They were part of the large contingent of New Zealand families who had set up a fan zone on the beach.

Ms Meech said support from the other families helped ease their nerves but they couldn't be happier with the children's efforts.

''Simon and I are both very proud of them.''

Both Sam and Molly are members of the Tauranga Yacht and Boat Club, which was hoping to celebrate their sailors' efforts when the athletes returned home.

Commodore Nick Wrinch said it was an exciting time for the club.

In addition to Molly's race, Sam had already won a bronze medal, fellow Tauranga sailor Jason Saunders narrowly missed out on a medal in the mixed nacra 17 when he finished fourth this week, and sailor Peter Burling already has a gold medal guaranteed in his 49er FX race tomorrow after after he and sailing partner Blair Tuke achieved enough points earlier this week to secure the lead..

''The yacht club doesn't know where to look really,'' Mr Wrinch said.

''I think they (Molly and Alex) stand a good chance of getting a medal for Tauranga.''

Burling is also expected to race today in the final race for the 49er FX class. He and sailing partner Blair Tuke only have to show up to the race to win their gold medals.

''For us we wanted to come in as favourites with other guys chasing us, because last time when we got silver, we were chasing the favourites. So it's something we are super happy with,'' Burling said.

Burling joined the supporters to cheer Sam on as he received his medal and it was expected that Tauranga's Olympic sailors would come together again to celebrate Burling and Tuke's gold medal presentation. They hoped they would also be celebrating Molly's success.


Molly Meech's sailing achievements:


2016 World Sailing Cup Miami Champions
2015 Olympic Test Event - 4th
2015 World Sailing Cup Weymouth - Silver
2014 Olympic Test Event, Rio - Silver
2014 49erFX European Championship - Bronze
2013 49erFX World Champion
2013 49erFX European Championship - Bronze
2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres 49erFX Champion
2011 ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships, Laser Radial - 12th

- Bay of Plenty Times

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