Silver for Alex Maloney and Molly Meech in a photo finish

By Yachting NZ

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech have won Olympic Silver at their first Games appearance in a thrilling 49erFX medal race showdown which closed out the Rio 2016 Regatta.

With four boats, including Spain, Brazil, Denmark and New Zealand, essentially locked up on points going into the final double-points medal race the womens skiff event came down to the last race where one of the four was destined to miss out on the medals.

The order in which those four boats they crossed the line in todays medal race determined the colour and the kiwis took silver crossing the finish line a mere two seconds behind Brazil who claimed gold in front of a rapturous home crowd.

In todays race Maloney and Meech took it to the ten boat fleet with a strong start and held the lead through the early stages of the race, but Brazil was chasing hard and caught the kiwis after choosing to split away and it went in their favour.

"We sailed a really, really good race," said Molly Meech. "We got a nice jump on the rest of the fleet to the first bottom mark, but the Brazilians came through a little stronger in the last lap. They sailed really well, and I think were really happy with how we sailed."

When the local crew of Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze took the victory, the Brazilian crowd on the beach erupted. Alex Maloney said, "Were always out there to win, but if anyone else was going to win it was so nice to see the Brazilians win in their hometown"

Talking about their Rio 2016 experience Meech said, "I've really enjoyed it and it's been an amazing week."

"We've sailed really well and were really happy with the way things have gone this week. The Olympics has been an amazing experience. It's awesome to have all the support back home and everyone getting up early to watch us race, it's really cool."

"The whole of the New Zealand sailing team has been working really hard for the last four years and I think that it's all paid off for everyone. It's amazing to be part of the team."

24 year-old Maloney helms New Zealands 49erFX womens skiff while 23 year-old Meech is the tall, powerhouse on board. The class makes its Olympic debut here at Rio 2016. It will also be the first Olympic Games for Maloney, and her sailing partner Meech.

A representative of the Murrays Bay Sailing Club Maloney has sailed all her life, growing up on the family cruising boat, going on to prove herself as a talented competitive sailor with a 3rd overall at the 2007 Optimist World Championships with more medals in the youth class 420 and 29er boats.

Meech also comes from a sailing family and spent much of her childhood on their family cruising yacht going on to take up competitive sailing at the Tauranga Yacht & Powerboat Club following in the footsteps of her older brother Sam, who won bronze in the Laser class on Tuesday in Rio.

Sailing in the single-handed Laser Radial during her youth years Molly Meech represented New Zealand at the World Sailing Youth Championships twice.

When the 49erFX skiff was announced as an Olympic event in 2013 Maloney and Meech quickly launched their Olympic campaign and went on to win the inaugural 49erFX World Championship crown that year.

They are supported by accomplished sailing coach Jim Maloney, Alexs father.

NZL Sailing Team Results

GOLD Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er)

SILVER Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Womens 470)

SILVER Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (49erFX)

BRONZE - Sam Meech (Laser)

4th - Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (Nacra)

7th - Josh Junior (Finn)

10th Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox (Mens 470)

Full results are available on the Rio 2016 website: https://www.rio2016.com/en/schedule-and-results

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Yachting New Zealand

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