Aleh, Powrie win sailing gold
Sat, 11 Aug 2012 12:20a.m.
New Zealand 470 sailors Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie won the country's fourth gold medal of the London Games after a dominant victory in their medal race at Weymouth.
An inspired decision to head for the right-hand side of the course on the first leg paid golden dividends for Aleh and Powrie who started the race tied on points with British duo Saskia Clark and Hannah Mills.
They led around all four marks to emerge victorious and pocket New Zealand's 11th medal of the Olympics as the British pair limped home ninth to win silver.
"I can't believe it. It's awesome, it's really cool. It hasn't sunk in," Powrie tells the BBC.
Skipper Aleh, 27, who was seventh in the single-handed Laser Radial class in Beijing, said the win would boost the sport in New Zealand.
"Yachting has been struggling for a while at home and it's pretty awesome to bring back a gold medal," she says.
"It's going to take a while to sink in. It is just another regatta but I guess it is just so much more."
Clark was disappointed they could not make the most of their good start.
"I think we just feel a bit gutted at the moment that we didn't even put a good show on, really," Clark tells BBC Sport.
"We had the Kiwis at the start line and then we let them go to the right and didn't follow them.
"We were wedged in with a few boats and halfway up the beat we knew that the gold medal had gone from us."
Mills echoes her sentiments, adding: "It was tricky. We felt the left had better breeze, which is why we wanted to get left, but the wind died and that was kind of game over."
Both boats were assured of at least silver and the gold would be won by who crossed the finish line ahead of their rivals.
The Britons got the better of the New Zealand pair in pre-race manoeuvres, crossing the start line ahead and heading to the left of the course on the first leg.
The Kiwis tacked immediately and headed right and the move paid off with them picking up a wind shift to power away.
In light, 2-3 knot winds, the British boat failed to immediately cover the move and were more than a minute down at the first mark and in 10th, and last, place.
Aleh and Powrie extended their lead at the next mark and with the course shortened due to the fickle breeze held their advantage to the finish with the Brits struggling across the line in ninth more than 300 metres behind.
New Zealand ended the regatta on 35 points, the Brits were on 51 and the Dutch crew of Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berhout were fourth in the medal race to win bronze on 64 points.
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11/08/2012 10:21:46 a.m.
11/08/2012 10:05:04 a.m.
jack moody wrote:
yes great to see another gold medal for nz
11/08/2012 6:37:20 a.m.
Congratulations Jo and Olivia
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