Olympics: Day 12 wrap - Sailors take tally to 10

By Michael Brown

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand spray champagne to celebrate their silver medal of the 49er men sailing race. Photo / Francois Mori.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand spray champagne to celebrate their silver medal of the 49er men sailing race. Photo / Francois Mori.

Sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke knew they had won a silver medal before their final race of the 49er class overnight (NZT) but they didn't know it would be one of such national significance.

The pair collected the 100th medal won by New Zealand in Olympic history. Tuke read about the milestone on the internet on the morning of their race but wasn't sure they would pick up the 100th because he didn't know who else from New Zealand was competing.

They finished second in today's medal race but it didn't really matter considering they couldn't catch Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen and couldn't be overtaken by the six crews battling for bronze. It didn't lessen their enjoyment and they were then presented with their medals by Barbara Kendall, who won three Olympic medals and is this country's most successful female Olympian.

"It's just amazing,'' Tuke said. "So many great people have won medals for New Zealand in the past and to be alongside them is pretty special.

To be the actual 100th ones is quite crazy. We are quite proud.''

Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie will add another in the women's 470. The pair are first equal with Great Britain's Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark heading into Friday night's (NZT) medal race and, as long as they are not disqualified, will collect at least silver.

The prospects of it being gold looked promising after they finished second in the first race of the day and established an eight-point lead over the British crew but they had a horror final race when they crossed 18th in the 20-strong fleet to let their rivals back in. The final race will essentially be a match race between the two leading boats.

"We had a pretty good first race today, which helped us a little bit, but then we followed it up with our little stuff-up of the regatta,'' Aleh said. "There had to be one, we figured, so that was it.''

The New Zealand women's hockey side will be feeling even more deflated after they were beaten by the Netherlands in a penalty shootout this morning.

Twice the Black Sticks held the lead against the No 1-ranked side in the world and a team they have never beaten at a major tournament. Twice they refused to buckle when the Dutch equalised but eventually went down 3-1 in a shootout after the scores were level at 2-2 after extra time. They now need to pick themselves up for Saturday morning's bronze medal match against either Argentina or Great Britain.

Men's K2 1000m kayakers Steven Ferguson and Darryl Fitzgerald finished seventh in their Olympic final on Dorney Lake last night (NZT) as they struggled to match the explosive pace of the best combinations in the world.

Ferguson didn't rule out another Olympic campaign, which would continue an amazing association with the Games by one of New Zealand's most famous families.

"I'm only 32 so I've got plenty of time left,'' he said. "I'm definitely open to it. I haven't shut that door, I'll just have to go home to re-evaluate.

"The Olympics define who I am. There have only been 30 Games and Fergusons have been at nine of them [father Ian five, Steven four]. However, I've also got a nine-month-old little boy to consider these days.''

BMX rider Sarah Walker was the second fastest in the seeding rides today and will get the crucial inside gate for Friday night's semifinal.

Australia's Caroline Buchanan was the fastest, with Great Britain's Shanaze Reade, who is among the favourites for the event, setting the fifth fastest time.

Marc Willers was 10th fastest in the men's seeding run and Kurt Pickard 16th.

Brent Newdick was 15th after two events of the decathlon with gold medal favourite Ashton Eaton well ahead of the chasing pack.

- APNZ

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