Yachting: Kiwis strike gold as medal tally rises to four

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Olivia Powrie and Jo Aleh. Photo / Greg Bowker
Olivia Powrie and Jo Aleh. Photo / Greg Bowker

New Zealand added gold and silver on the final day of the Aquece Rio regatta, to scoop a four medal haul in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie finished 4th in the medal race and broke the three-way tie in the women's 470 to secure the gold ahead of the British, who had to settle for silver.

Meanwhile, Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox came from sixth on the leaderboard to bag a podium finish on the final day with a medal race win.

With gold already awarded to Peter Burling and Blair Tuke in the 49er, and silver for Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech in the 49erFX, yesterday's results took the medal tally to four for the NZL Sailing Team.

The regatta, which acts as a trial run for the Olympic sailing regatta organisers, features top sailors from around the globe in each of the 10 Olympic classes.

Aleh and Powrie were delighted with the outcome of yesterday's race, describing it as one of the most high pressure races they had sailed.

"It was a pretty tough race," Aleh said. "Sail by the seat of your pants, see what happens and keep hoping it will work out.

"We knew we had to beat both of them [Mills/Clark and Haeger/Provancha] and be top five if the Austrians won.

"We always wanted to do well but just had to beat those boats. Pretty early on, as we started, we were in the middle of them and kept an eye on them. The Americans dropped back pretty quickly, so it was just between us and the Brits.

"Everyone found it stressful. There was a lot happening. When the boys raced before, the wind was a little bit more set but the wind had just changed. It was one of the most unstable medal races we've done."

The Laser and Laser Radials also concluded the regatta with New Zealand represented in the Laser medal race by Sam Meech, older brother of 49erFX crew Molly.

Meech finished fifth in yesterday's final race to wrap up the regatta in ninth overall.

The next major event on the Olympic sailing calendar is widely accepted as this year's pinnacle event - the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain, from September 8-21.

It is the first Olympic Qualification regatta for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition, with half the spot to be decided there.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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