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Kiwi sailors hanging tough at Tokyo Olympics

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox are in fifth in the men's 470 with one more day of qualifying remaining. Photo: Sailing Energy / World Sailing.

Most of the New Zealand sailors have felt like they've gone a few rounds with a heavyweight boxer over the last few days but three crews are ready to come off the ropes and chase an Olympic medal.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke had a day off on Sunday and will go into today's 49er medal race with a four-point lead over crews from Great Britain and Spain.

They lent their support today to four other crews competing on Sagami Bay and two of them are still in with a good shot at a medal.

Josh Junior is fourth in the Finn heading into Tuesday's top-10, double points medal race and Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox are fifth in the men's 470 with two more qualifying races before their medal race.

Snow-Hansen and Willcox started the day in third but struggled a little in their two races today, recording scores of 13 (their drop) and eight. They're still in the fight, however, sitting only five points behind third.

"It was a case of boxing gloves out and just taking a few too many jabs to the face today," Willcox says.

"It was a bit of a tough one for us on Sunday but the forecast is starkly different today and it’s all to play for. The points are really close so it’s all on."

Junior is likely to come out swinging in the Finn medal race.

He won the last qualifying race today, recovering from an eighth in his first race, and will go into the medal race eight points (or four boats) off third. He should take confidence from the fact he's one of only three Finn sailors to have won races at these Olympics so knows how to get to the finish line first.

Great Britain's Giles Scott holds a handy 11-point lead but as many as five others are in with a shot at a medal so there are plenty of possible scenarios. Nothing has come easily in one of the most competitive fleets and Junior has felt like he's been battling throughout.

"I feel like I have been getting beaten down, to be honest," says the 2019 world champion.

"It’s the Olympic Games so it’s tough. Everyone is racing well and if you’re not doing what you need to do then you get punished. I guess I’m hanging in there but I'm certainly not where I want to be just yet.

"I’m in with a shot but it’s a lot of points so I'll have to win the race and then cross my fingers that one of those in front of me finishes in the bottom half of the fleet."

Sam Meech went into Sunday's Laser medal race with an outside chance of winning a medal but things didn't go to plan and he finished 10th in that and 10th overall. It's been a difficult regatta for the Rio bronze medallist, not least of all because he's been sailing with an infected knee.

"I’m pretty disappointed," he says.

"I came in with pretty high expectations and felt pretty good but a lot of things didn’t go right. It’s been a bloody hard week.

"A couple of days before the regatta I woke up in the middle of the night and my knee was bloody sore. That ended up swelling up and my whole leg was pretty useless for a couple of days. Luckily we have got a great medical team here and we got the swelling down but it didn't help. But I also didn’t sail my best either. I just didn’t put it together."

The Nacra 17 pair of Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson also had a troubled buildup, with Dawson fracturing her leg in a training accident five weeks before the Games, but she recovered in time for them to race.

They showed glimpses of their potential today, often being in the leading group, but came unstuck when they wrapped their gennaker around the hull in the first race and then capsized in the last.

They finished 12th overall and will miss the Nacra 17 medal race.

"It was a case of missed opportunities today," Wilkinson says.

"Those mistakes really hurt us but we can walk away with our heads held high, even after such a tough day."

It's hoped the New Zealand sailors land a few blows of their own over the next three days, starting with Burling and Tuke tomorrow.

Results and standings after day eight of the Olympic sailing regatta in Enoshima:

49er (19 boats)

1st: Peter Burling / Blair Tuke (NZL) (12) 3 7 2 10 1 3 6 2 5 2 11 - 52 points
2nd: Dylan Fletcher-Scott / Stuart Bithell (GBR) 2 8 4 1 12 2 (16) 3 9 6 7 - 56 pts
3rd: Diego Botin / Iago Lopez Marra (ESP) 5 1 2 5 4 10 (15) 2 6 4 12 6 - 56 pts

49erFX (21 boats)

1st: Martine Grael / Kahena Kunze (BRA) (15) 5 1 10 7 6 1 6 10 12 2 10 - 70 pts
2nd: Annemiek Bekkering / Annette Duetz (NED) 13 8 2 1 6 1 12 5 6 5 12 (16) - 71 pts
3rd: Tina Lutz / Susann Beuke 5 6 8 3 (13) 12 11 12 3 7 3 3 - 73 pts

12h: Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 16 (22 UFD) 5 12 4 4 8 3 18 6 20 6 - 102 pts

Finn (19 boats)

1st: Giles Scott (GBR) (9) 9 1 1 1 1 6 1 1 7 - 28 pts
2nd: Zsombor Berecz (HUN) 2 2 (9) 4 6 7 3 5 4 4 - 37 pts
3rd: Joan Cardona (ESP) 3 3 5 3 2 3 (13) 7 5 8 - 39 pts

4th: Josh Junior (NZL) (12) 10 3 7 8 5 1 4 8 1 - 47 pts

Laser (35 boats)

1st: Matt Wearn (AUS) 17 (28) 2 4 2 2 1 1 12 8 4 - 53 pts
2nd: Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) 15 6 3 (22) 13 4 5 11 7 10 8 - 82 pts
3rd: Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR) 3 18 15 2 6 8 10 5 (19) 4 14 - 85 pts

10th: Sam Meech (NZL) (19) 19 8 16 14 3 2 13 11 3 20 - 109 pts

Laser Radial (44 boats)

1st: Anne-Marie Rindom (BEL) 6 5 3 13 4 4 2 1 26 (45 DNF) 14 - 78 pts
2nd: Josefin Olsson (SWE) (34) 15 8 4 1 6 4 9 22 10 2 - 81 pts
3rd: Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 21 14 7 2 3 9 (45 BFD) 7 1 7 12 - 83

Men's 470 (19 boats)

1st: Matt Belcher / Will Ryan (AUS) 2 (5) 1 1 4 3 2 1 - 14 pts
2nd: Jordi Xammar / Nicolas Garcia-Paz (ESP) 10 1 10 6 (14) 1 3 2 - 33 pts
3rd: Anton Dahlberg / Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE) 1 (15) 8 5 6 11 1 5 - 37 pts

5th: Paul Snow-Hansen / Dan Willcox (NZL) 6 2 7 7 5 7 (13) 8 - 42 pts

Women's 470 (21 boats)

1st: Hannah Mills / Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) 4 3 (7) 1 3 3 1 3 - 18 pts
2nd: Agnieszka Skrzypulec / Jolanta Ogar (POL) 1 1 2 5 (13) 1 5 4 - 19 pts
3rd: Camille Lecointre / Aloise Retornaz (FRA) 3 2 4 7 1 (12) 6 5 - 28 pts

Nacra 17 (20 boats)

1st: Ruggero Tita / Caterina Banti (ITA) 1 3 1 2 5 1 (8) 3 2 2 1 2 - 23 pts
2nd: John Gimson / Anna Burnet (GBR) 7 5 2 1 1 2 5 (10) 1 5 2 4 - 35 pts
3rd: Paul Kohlhoff / Alicia Stuhlemmer (GER) 5 1 7 3 3 (11) 3 2 8 3 6 6 - 47 pts

12th: Micah Wilkinson / Erica Dawson (NZL) 11 12 13 11 8 12 15 9 (18) 17 8 14 - 130 pts

Women's RS:X (27 boards)

1st: Lu Yunxiu (CHN) 2 9 (25) 2 2 1 4 2 1 2 3 2 6 - 36 pts
2nd: Charline Picon (FRA) 1 6 2 (9) 1 4 2 3 6 3 2 6 2 - 38 pts
3rd: Emma Wilson (GBR) 5 2 6 1 4 2 1 1 (28 UFD) 6 1 5 4 - 38 pts

Men's RS:X (25 boards)

1st: Kiran Badloe (NED) 5 7 1 1 (26 DSQ) 5 2 4 1 5 1 1 4 - 37 pts
2nd: Thomas Goyard (FRA) (13) 5 3 13 1 1 3 6 7 1 9 3 22 OCS- 74 pts
3rd: Kun Bi (CHN) 7 9 16 4 13 (26 DSQ) 1 3 2 4 2 6 8 - 75 pts

Full results

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