Rio Olympics 2016: Can this still be our best Games?

The New Zealand Olympic team are still on track to reach their targeted number of medals. Photo / AP
The New Zealand Olympic team are still on track to reach their targeted number of medals. Photo / AP

Despite murmurings over a rowing regatta and track cycling campaign that failed to deliver as many medals as anticipated, New Zealand's Olympic team is still on track for a record haul at these Games.

But it will require everything to go right for the Kiwi medal contenders leading us into the second week of competition in Rio.

Our record mark of 13 medals - achieved in Seoul in 1988 and again in London four years ago - is still within the New Zealand team's reach.

Even though more was expected in terms of rowing and track cycling, we are currently sitting at eight medals - two gold and six silver - after eight days of competition.

With sailing potentially capable of delivering up to five medals over the next week, there are hopes the yachties will lead the charge.

America's Cup duo and world 49ers champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are leading the way at the halfway stage of their regatta but Sam Meech (third in the Laser), his sister Molly Meech and her racing partner Alex Maloney are third in the 49er women, Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders hold down the same position in the Nacra mixed class and London gold medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie remain handily placed in the women's 470.

Sam Meech's medal race is on Tuesday.

That is the same day Lisa Carrington makes her Rio debut in the kayak sprint races where she is a gold medal contender in both the K1 200 and 500 metre events.

Lydia Ko's task is probably tougher on a demanding Rio golf course but few will count the world No. 1 out when she tees off on Wednesday night NZ time.

Despite the disappointment of Valerie Adams being narrowly beaten for gold in the women's shot put, New Zealand's track and field programme could still deliver another medal.

Tom Walsh is rated a chance of a minor medal when the men's shot put starts overnight on Friday night while Nick Willis can't be ruled out as contender to do something of note the men's 1500 metres.

A medal is probably beyond rising pole vault star Eliza McCartney in her first Olympics but she could yet surprise with an inspiring effort.

Eddie Dawkins is also considered a prospect in the men's cycling Keirin overnight on Wednesday evening.

But it will Burling and Tuke, Carrington and Ko that Kiwi fans will be most looking towards to add to our gold medal tally of two from rowers Eric Murray and Hamish Bond and single sculls victor Mahe Drysdale.

That would give us three more gold medals to take us to five - still three short of our record haul in London in 2012.

- NZ Herald

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