Dana Johannsen is the NZ Herald's chief sports reporter

Rio Olympics 2016: Aleh and Powrie protest thrown out

New Zealand's Polly Powrie, left, and Jo Aleh compete during the 470 women race at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Photo / AP
New Zealand's Polly Powrie, left, and Jo Aleh compete during the 470 women race at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Photo / AP

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie have had their protest against disqualification from yesterday's race 6 of the women's 470 thrown out after they failed to lodge their appeal in time.

The decision scuppers their chances of defending their Olympic title given they have incurred two disqualifications but they are still an outside chance of a minor medal.

They were ruled to have crossed the startline early and followed a disqualification on the opening day of racing, when they were penalised for a port-starboard incident.

Both disqualifications carried the maximum 21 points, and saw the defending Olympic champions take a slide down the standings to seventh overall. Had the penalties not been imposed, the pair known as Team Jolly would have been in a share of the lead.

Aleh and Powrie appealed the jury's decision in the first race over the weekend after video evidence of the incident with an Austrian crew surfaced, but they could not convince the five-person panel to budge from their decision.

The protest committee ruled today's protest was invalid because the protest time had expired. The time limit is harsh as it takes considerable time to track down video evidence of the race with no broadcast cameras on the course.

The final three qualifying races in the women's 470 were scheduled for today, but were postponed due to light winds.

After a rest day yesterday the 49er and 49erFX pairings were back out on the water today, with both Kiwi crews in a strong position.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke extended their lead on the rest of the fleet out to 18 points after three top-three finishes today and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech are second in the 49er FX after finishing sixth, a 12th and third in today's races.

Laser sailor Sam Meech has an opportunity to nab New Zealand's first medal of the regatta later this morning when he contests the medal race. Meech is ranked third heading into the deciding race, which will carry double points, and has a handy nine-point buffer on the fourth-placed boat.

Today's racing was carried out in contrasting conditions. Firstly there was too little wind, and then too much.

Almost as if someone had flipped a switch, a strong wind from the southwest blew across the Rio sailing courses late in the afternoon, causing mayhem and postponing the medal race in the women's Laser Radial.

The men's 49er fleet got in three races. New Zealand's Peter Burling and Blair Tuke went 2-3-1 to increase their lead over Germany's Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel.

Burling said the wind hit 40-45 knots just after the final race ended.

"The boat was going really fast and there were some beautiful conditions out there, but we got hit pretty hard by a massive squall on the way in," he said. "Everyone here is pretty cold and we have a fair bit of work to do on the boats and check them over."
Did they stay upright?

"No," said Burling, who also serves as helmsman of Emirates Team New Zealand in the America's Cup. "We struggled to stay up with just the pole up."

- NZ Herald

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