Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Rio Olympics 2016: What Sam Meech needs to do to secure a medal

New Zealand's Sam Meech competes during the Laser men race. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Sam Meech competes during the Laser men race. Photo / AP

Sam Meech has an opportunity to snare New Zealand's first sailing medal of the Rio Games when he contests the decider in the Laser class tomorrow.

Meech, competing at this first Olympics, is ranked third heading into the medal race, which is contested by the top-10 ranked sailors in the fleet.

The sailors all carry their points tally from the 10 qualifying races through to the decider, but the medal race will carry double points.

Here's the scenario Meech faces:
- As the third ranked sailor, Meech will wear the bronze medal bib during the race.

- He is on 77 points, with a handy nine-point buffer over the fourth-placed sailor, Frenchman Jean Baptiste Bernaz, while hero Robert Scheidt and Great Britain's Nick Thompson are a further point back on 87.

- The only way the Tauranga sailor can be overtaken by one of the 4-6th ranked boats is if he finishes five places below one of them in the medal race.

- The means if Meech finishes in the top five, he is assured the bronze medal.

- Meech can't catch Croatian leader Tonci Stipanovic (57 points) but could claim silver if he finishes six spots ahead of second-placed Australian Tom Burton (67) in the medal race.

The medal race in the Laser fleet gets under way at 5.05am tomorrow.

Earlier today, two other Kiwi crews confirmed their place in medal races, with the Nacra 17 pairing of Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders qualifying fifth for the decider, while Finn sailor Josh Junior is in eighth position.

Both medal races will be sailed on Wednesday morning.

- NZ Herald

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