NZ Herald Olympics Banner

Rio Olympics 2016: Peter Burling and Blair Tuke steam toward podium

New Zealand's Peter Burling, right, and teammate Blair Tuke compete during the 49er men race at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Photo / AP.
New Zealand's Peter Burling, right, and teammate Blair Tuke compete during the 49er men race at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Photo / AP.

New Zealand's world class sailors are poised to rescue our fading Rio Olympics campaign.

After the rowing regatta and track cycling failed to deliver as many medals as many Kiwi supporters had hoped for, our sailors loomed into focus after another successful day on the water in Brazil.

Led by the crack men's 49ers pair of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, the New Zealand team is in contention for as many as five medals as the regatta hits the business end.

Burling and Tuke seem set for silver at worst after a busy day of four races saw them retain their overall lead halfway through the regatta's 12 races.

But there are several other Kiwi sailors in with a huge shout including brother and sister, Sam and Molly Meech.

Sam Meech turned in a brilliant effort to win the 10th race in the men's Laser class and propel himself into third overall with the medal race to come on Tuesday. He had earlier finished 12th in the day's other race.

Meech is third on 77 points, 10 adrift of second-placed Australian Tom Burton and 20 off leader Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia.

"It's fantastic to be going into the medal race with a bib - that was my goal from the start of the week so I'm really stoked with that," said Meech, referring to the fact he is placed in the top three and will wear the red bib for the medal race.

There are at least three other medal contenders.

Molly Meech and Alex Maloney grabbed a fifth in their last race of the day to ease into the top three of the women's 49ers.

They were fourth overall going into the third of the day's races but came home strongly and now only trail Denmark and Brazil after five of 12 races.

Maloney is very pleased with their placing in a very competitive field.

"We had glamour conditions today. Molly and my teamwork is going really well so we're really happy with how we are going."

"There are probably eight girls who could potentially medal and a lot of the others are really pushing hard so it's really good racing," said Maloney.

With three races to go, the Nacra mixed crew of Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders are also in podium contention.

The pair is in fourth place in the overall standings after nine races.

A fourth, eighth and a 12th in this morning's three races has kept them in touch going into the final day with Australia leading on 46 points.

Argentina and Great Britain share second spot on 49 with the Kiwis fourth on 51.

London Olympics gold medallist Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie had a rest day in the women's 470 but are sixth overall at the halfway point of their regatta. They have some work to do from here but the accomplished pair won't be taken lightly by their rivals.

Burling and Tuke racked up a fifth, second, eighth and sixth in their day's racing.

The consistent effort has the duo on track to better their silver medal winning effort at the London Olympics four years ago.

Tuke said it was a tough day's racing, but is happy with the results.

"We didn't feel like we sailed that well, but to come away from it with four low scores we're really happy.

With four races today it was a big chunk of the fleet racing so, like we've been saying it was really solid just to keep ticking away. Certainly not as pretty as we maybe did yesterday, but we're really happy with it."

The Kiwis are on 15 points with the German pair of Emile Heil and Thomas Plossel three points adrift of them. Then there is a massive gap back to Danes Jonas Warner and Christian Lubeck (33 points).

Burling said that sailing conditions on the Aeroporto course were less shifty than yesterday on Guanabara Bay.

"It was a lot more consistent, so you only had one shot to get it right and if you were behind half way up the first beat and were pretty deep you had to deliver some pretty good racing to get back to the top five."

Heil and Plossel had a productive day with a first, third and fifth to cause Burling and Tuke some mild anxiety. But they out-performed their rivals in the last race of the day with the Germans finishing 14th compared to the Kiwis' sixth.

Josh Junior is in 13th place overall in the Finn class after an 18th and a second in today's racing.

"There are probably eight girls who could potentially medal and a lot of the others are really pushing hard so it's really good racing."

Today's results:
Women's 49er FX - Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech, Race 3 - 4th, Race 4 - 4th, Race 5 6.05am, Race 6 - 5th. 3rd overall.
Finn class - Josh Junior, Race 7 - 18th, Race 8 - 2nd. 13th overall.
Laser men's - Sam Meech, Race 9 - 12th, race 10 - 1st. 3rd overall.
Nacra - Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders, Race 7 - 4th, Race 8 - 8th, Race 9 - 12th. 4th overall.
Men's 49er - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, Race 3 - 5th, Race 4 - 2nd, Race 5 - 8th, Race 6 - 6th. 1st overall.

Jason Saunders and Gemma Jones (Nacra)
Today's results: 4th; 8th; 12th
Overall: 4th after 9 races.
To go: 3 more prelim races then medal race Weds 5.05am

Sam Meech (Laser)
Today's results: 12th; 1st
Overall: 3rd
To go: Medal race, Tues 5.05am

Josh Junior (Finn)
Today's results: 18th; 2nd
Overall: 13th
To go: 2 more prelims, medal race Weds 4.05am

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er)
Today's results: 5th; 2nd; 8th; 6th
Overall: 1st
To go: 6 more prelims, medal race Fri 4.05am

Molly Meech and Alex Maloney (49er-fx)
Today's results: 4th; 4th; 5th; 1st
Overall: 3rd
To go: 6 more prelims, medal race Fri 5.05am

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (470)
Today's results: Rest day
Overall: 6th
To go: 5 more prelims, medal race Thurs 4.05am

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf02 at 29 Sep 2016 20:31:47 Processing Time: 541ms