Dale Budge is a sports writer for the NZ Herald.

Maloney and Meech get new coach for Tokyo tilt

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech of New Zealand on the podium after winning silver in the Womens 49erFX class. Photo / Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech of New Zealand on the podium after winning silver in the Womens 49erFX class. Photo / Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Olympic silver medal-winning 49FX sailors Alex Maloney and Molly Meech have committed to another Olympic campaign but will have a new coach as they build towards the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Nathan Handley, who most recently worked with two-time Olympic medallists Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, will now assist Maloney and Meech with the combination known as "Team Jolly" coming to an end after the Rio Games.

"Team Jolly retired from the circuit so they gave Nathan the blessing to work alongside us," said Maloney.

"We worked with Nathan a little bit in 2013 and really liked his coaching style. We think he can offer a lot to us as a team and help us grow and go one better in Tokyo."

With the pair having taken a break from the sport since the Rio Olympics, Handley's work with Maloney and Meech has been more strategic.

"We haven't been on the water with him since 2013 so it has just been a lot of planning about the campaign and how that is going to go," Meech said.

The pair will get back on the water for the first time since winning their silver medal this weekend at the NZL Sailing Regatta in Auckland - New Zealand's premier sailing event.

"It is the first time back racing for us since the Olympics. It will be cool to get out there and dust off the cobwebs a little bit," Meech said.

The 23-year-old Meech said winning the medal in Rio was a bit of a blur but she always intended to go through another Olympic cycle.

"It definitely took a couple of weeks and extended out to a couple of months I think to actually feel like the silver medal had sunk in."

For Maloney, though, the decision to commit took a little longer.

"Straight after the Games, I was pretty confident I wanted to do it but when you take a little time off and see other options - it is a big commitment for four years - it took a little while to decide.

"Deep down, I think I always wanted to do it."

- NZ Herald

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