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Tokyo2020: Burling and Tuke see the silver lining in Olympic result

by Michael Brown / Yachting NZ 3 Aug 07:52 PDT 4 August 2021
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) heading for the finish - 49er - Tokyo2020 - Day 9- August 2, - Enoshima, Japan. © Richard Gladwell - Sail-World.com / Photosport

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke remember competing at the 2012 London Olympics and noticing how glum many of those who secured silver seemed.

They might have claimed silver themselves at those Games, a feat that saw them famously win New Zealand's 100th Olympic medal, but didn't ever want to be 'those guys' who couldn't celebrate Olympic achievement.

It's why they were proud to collect silver in the 49er at the Tokyo Olympics today. Sure, it wasn't the colour they were after, and they missed out on gold by a ridiculously small margin, but it was a medal nonetheless achieved on the highest stage.

In the process, they picked up New Zealand's first sailing medal at these Games and also joined Barbara Kendall as the only Kiwi sailors to win three Olympics medals.

"It’s a silver medal at the Olympic Games," Tuke said. "We’ve known how special that is throughout our career. We came here with a clear goal of winning a gold one and came oh so close but we will still enjoy it. We’re very proud to represent our country, Aotearoa, and very proud to win another Olympic medal for the country."

They went into the medal race with a four-point lead over crews from Great Britain and Spain, knowing they couldn't afford for one of those teams to finish ahead of them and with another boat sandwiched in between.

They tussled for long periods at the front with both Great Britain and Germany, who started the day in fourth, only to watch the British team of Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell nose in front of Germany as they lunged for the line and win the race by two seconds. Burling and Tuke were just behind in third.

"We were really hoping the Germans stayed out in front and sailed away a little bit but that’s yacht racing for you," Burling said. "It’s been a massive battle all week and margins have been pretty tight so we probably expected nothing less in that medal race.

"We fought as hard as we could. It’s mixed emotions with the result. It’s not what we came to do but winning another silver medal for your country is an incredibly special moment."

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox hope to enjoy that feeling tomorrow when they compete in the men's 470 medal race.

They go into that race in fourth, six points behind Spain's Jordi Xammar and Nicolas Garcia-Paz, with Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom from Sweden a further four points ahead in second. Australia's Matt Belcher and Will Ryan have sailed impressively all week and have virtually won gold but the battle for the minor medals looks a tantalising one.

"The points are really close so going into the medal race tomorrow it’s all on, which is exciting," Willcox said. "In general, sitting in fourth we don’t have much to lose. We just need to back ourselves and try to execute what we think can win the race."

It was similar to the approach Josh Junior took into the final medal race in history for the Finn class today. He was also fourth leading into the top-10 shootout and needing to claw back eight points to get among the medals.

Things looked promising at the top mark for the final time, when he rounded in third and with Spain's Joan Cardona deep in the field, but he was swamped on the run home by the trailing boats who picked up some fresh breeze and then penalised near the finish.

"It was a bit of a rollercoaster [of a race]," said Junior, who has been struggling with a knee injury throughout the regatta. "I gave it my all to try to get near the front and got pretty close up the second beat but it just didn’t come together for me in the end.

"It’s going to be a little bit disappointing for a while but Andy [Maloney] and I have had an amazing adventure together and to both become world champions and to come here with a shot of a medal is something to be proud of. I’m just a little bit gutted now, though."

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

49er (19 boats)

1st: Dylan Fletcher-Scott / Stuart Bithell (GBR) 2 8 4 1 12 2 (16) 3 9 6 7 2 - 58pts
2nd: Peter Burling / Blair Tuke (NZL) (12) 3 7 2 10 1 3 6 2 5 2 11 6 - 58pts
3rd: Erik Heil / Thomas Ploessel (GER) 3 13 5 (14) 2 3 1 7 11 2 14 5 4 - 70pts

49erFX (21 boats) 1st: Martine Grael / Kahena Kunze (BRA) (15) 5 1 10 7 6 1 6 10 12 2 10 6 - 76pts
2nd: Tina Lutz / Susann Beuke 5 6 8 3 (13) 12 11 12 3 7 3 3 10 - 83pts
3rd: Annemiek Bekkering / Annette Duetz (NED) 13 8 2 1 6 1 12 5 6 5 11 (16) 18 - 88pts

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

Finn (19 boats)

1st: Giles Scott (GBR) (9) 9 1 1 1 1 6 1 1 7 8 - 36pts
2nd: Zsombor Berecz (HUN) 2 2 (9) 4 6 7 3 5 4 4 2 - 39pts
3rd: Joan Cardona (ESP) 3 3 5 3 2 3 (13) 7 5 8 12 - 51pts

5th: Josh Junior (NZL) (12) 10 3 7 8 5 1 4 8 1 20 - 67pts

Men's 470 (19 boats)

1st: Matt Belcher / Will Ryan (AUS) 2 5 1 1 4 3 2 1 2 (8) - 21pts
2nd: Anton Dahlberg / Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE) 1 (15) 8 5 6 11 1 5 3 1 - 41pts
3rd: Jordi Xammar / Nicolas Garcia-Paz (ESP) 10 1 10 6 (14) 1 3 2 5 7 - 45pts

4th: Paul Snow-Hansen / Dan Willcox (NZL) 6 2 7 7 5 7 (13) 8 6 3 - 51pts

Women's 470 (21 boats)

1st: Hannah Mills / Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) 4 3 (7) 1 3 3 1 3 (9) 3 - 28pts
2nd: Camille Lecointre / Aloise Retornaz (FRA) 3 2 4 7 1 (12) 6 5 10 4 - 42pts
3rd: Agnieszka Skrzypulec / Jolanta Ogar (POL) 1 1 2 5 13 1 5 4(15) 15 - 46pts

Nacra 17 (20 boats)

1st: Ruggero Tita / Caterina Banti (ITA) 1 3 1 2 5 1 (8) 3 2 2 1 2 12 - 35pts
2nd: John Gimson / Anna Burnet (GBR) 7 5 2 1 1 2 5 (10) 1 5 2 4 10 - 45pts
3rd: Paul Kohlhoff / Alicia Stuhlemmer (GER) 5 1 7 3 3 (11) 3 2 8 3 6 6 16 - 63pts

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

For full results click here

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