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Tokyo2020: Burling and Tuke excited about golden opportunity

by Michael Brown / Yachting NZ 31 Jul 05:31 PDT 1 August 2021
Tokyo2020 - Peter Burling and Blair Tuke - Mens 49er - Day 7- July, 31, - Enoshima, Japan. © Richard Gladwell - Sail-World.com / Photosport

Defending Olympic champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke will on Monday pull on the leader's yellow bibs for the first time at these Tokyo Olympics and it has come at just the right time.

The pair will take a four-point lead over their nearest rivals into the top-10, double points medal race as they look to secure consecutive 49er Olympic titles.

They banked scores of fifth, second and 11th in their three races today to open up a gap on both Great Britain (Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithall) and Spain (Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra).

There's a further 10 points back to the German combination in fourth, meaning Burling and Tuke look a good bet for a medal but there is only one colour they are aiming for.

"We are definitely a little frustrated with that last race but, nonetheless, we still gained four points on everyone around us today and it's a massive honour putting on that gold bib for the first time going into that medal race," Burling said. "We are really excited to have another opportunity to win another gold medal for our country.

"It definitely feels like a few things haven't rolled our way this week but we have been battling back and getting ourselves in the hunt. It's been a really fun battle this week and we're just excited to round it out with one more good race."

Josh Junior is looking for another two good ones in qualifying tomorrow after putting himself in a much stronger position to contend for the medals in the Finn.

He finished first and fourth in his two races today and climbed two spots to fifth overall but, crucially, closed the gap to most of those above him.

Defending Olympic champion Giles Scott holds a six-point lead over Spain's Joan Cardona Mendez, with Hungary's Zsombor Berecz another three points behind in third.

Junior is nine points behind third but showed good speed today and there will be more than a few keeping an eye on the 2019 world champion in the next two races.

"It was really important for me to get some good results today," he said. "I haven't had many of them so I needed to start racking them up and try to go into the medal race with a chance of winning a medal.

"I’m not sure a whole lot more was different [today]. I was trying to be a bit more proactive and really make clear decisions and take the opportunities I have. I think I got lucky a couple of times today but sometimes that happens."

The Olympic hopes of Rio silver medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech ended today when they missed out of a place in the medal race. They found themselves playing catchup after a disastrous first day and a pair of sixth placings and a 20th left them 12th overall, five points off the top 10.

"We came in knowing our potential but felt like we haven’t sailed to our potential," a dejected Meech said. "We made too many mistakes throughout the week. Although we did some good things, unfortunately the mistakes outweighed those.

"It sounds like it was really tight on points out there and we could have got through but we’ve missed the medal race and we’re both gutted."

Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson are also 12th in the Nacra 17 with one more day of qualifying remaining. They are 20 points behind 10th so will need to bank three low ones tomorrow to squeeze into the top 10 medal race.

The men's 470 of Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox return to action tomorrow in third overall and Sam Meech will start the Laser medal race in eighth and with a mathematical chance of claiming a medal.

Results and standings after day seven 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 - 20 pts 2nd: Joan Cardona (ESP) 3 3 5 3 2 3 (13) 7 - 26 pts 3rd: Zsombor Berecz (HUN) 2 2 (9) 4 6 7 3 5 - 29 pts

5th: Josh Junior (NZL) (12) 10 3 7 8 5 1 4 - 38 pts

Laser (35 boats)

1st: Matt Wearn (AUS) 17 (28) 2 4 2 2 1 1 12 8 - 49 pts 2nd: Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR) 3 18 15 2 6 8 10 5 (19) 4 - 71 pts 3rd: Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) 15 6 3 (22) 13 4 5 11 7 10 - 74 pts

8th: Sam Meech (NZL) (19) 19 8 16 14 3 2 13 11 3 - 89 pts

Laser Radial (44 boats)

1st: Anne-Marie Rindom (BEL) 6 5 3 13 4 4 2 1 26 (45 DNF) - 64 pts 2nd: Marit Bouwmeester (NED) 21 14 7 2 3 9 (45 BFD) 7 1 7 - 71 pts 3rd: Josefin Olsson (SWE) (34) 15 8 4 1 6 4 9 22 10 - 79 pts

Men's 470 (19 boats)

1st: Matt Belcher / Will Ryan (AUS) 2 (5) 1 1 4 3 - 11 pts 2nd: Luke Patience / Chris Grube (GBR) 3 8 2 4 (10) 5 - 22 pts 3rd: Paul Snow-Hansen / Dan Willcox (NZL) 6 2 (7) 7 5 7 - 27 pts

Women's 470 (21 boats)

1st: Agnieszka Skrzypulec / Jolanta Ogar (POL) 1 1 2 5 (13) 1 - 10 pts 2nd: Hannah Mills / Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) 4 3 (7) 1 3 3 - 14 pts 3rd: Camille Lecointre / Aloise Retornaz (FRA) 3 2 4 7 1 (12) - 17 pts

Nacra 17 (20 boats)

1st: Ruggero Tita / Caterina Banti (ITA) 1 3 1 2 5 1 (8) 3 2 - 18 pts 2nd: John Gimson / Anna Burnet (GBR) 7 5 2 1 1 2 5 (10) 1 - 24 pts 3rd: Paul Kohlhoff / Alicia Stuhlemmer (GER) 5 1 7 3 3 (11) 3 2 8 - 32 pts

12th: Micah Wilkinson / Erica Dawson (NZL) 11 12 13 11 8 12 15 9 (18) - 91 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 can be viewed by clicking here

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