Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie have won Olympic Silver at Rio 2016 today and join an elite group of kiwi sailors with two Olympic medals to their name.

In todays medal race they placed third fending off challenges from a number of nations all in a position to take home the silver medal today.

"Were really, really happy," said Polly Powrie. "Its been an incredibly tough week where weve had not much go our way, so to battle through with the support of Jo and Nathan and the wider team - it has been amazing."

Talking about todays race Aleh said, "It was really difficult, there was a lot of times in that race where I knew the other boats that were in there - there were three boats we had to look out for and they were all in positions that were a bit scary for us."

"It was a hard race, there was a lot to keep track of and Im just glad we could hold our composure to the end and see it out."

The Womens 470 event got underway in Rio on Wednesday 10 August and subsequently completed a full schedule of ten fleet races before the final top ten line-up was decided on Tuesday.

Looking dominant and fast on the water the kiwis secured the most race wins of any crew through qualifying with a total of four bullets from ten races - not including race six in which they crossed the line first to learn they were disqualified for being across the start-line early in a very close call which affected three nations in that race.

Dipping to 7th in the standings and badged as out of contention the tenacious Aleh and Powrie dug deep knowing that success in Olympic class sailing requires patience and fortitude, and they stayed strong through the set-backs of a disqualification in race one, a u-flag in race six and light wind cancellations.

Refusing to get distracted Aleh and Powrie, who are coached by Nathan Handley, simply went out and out-sailed their competitors on the water to climb back up to 2nd overall with just the medal race to sail. On the penultimate day of racing they took two wins and a fourth.

Then today the showed their experience and class and secured the Olympic silver medal for their trophy cabinet.

"Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they dont, and Im just proud of the fact that we kept fighting this week."

Aleh adds; "It feels like it means more because weve had to fight for everything, not everything went the way we wanted it to and weve just battled and battled. From where we were half way through the event, it seemed like an impossibility, so were really happy."

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie first came together for a campaign in the International 420 class when the 420 World Championship came to New Zealand in 2007; they subsequently launched their partnership in the Olympic Womens 470 class.

Aleh and Powries silver medal here in Rio is New Zealands third Olympic medal in the womens double-handed 470 class. The first was silver won by Leslie Egnot and Jan Shearer at Barcelona 1992, then at London 2012 when Aleh and Powrie won gold.

Throughout their campaign towards Rio, 2016 Aleh and Powrie have consistently returned podium performances at major international regattas including World Championships and Sailing World Cup events. Their partnership with coach Nathan Handley now spans more than eight years.

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:

In total, 380 sailors from 66 nations will race in 274 boats across ten Olympic Events across seven racing areas in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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