49er crew grab victory to lift medal hopes

FRED WOODCOCK IN LONDON
Last updated 05:00 05/08/2012
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke
Reuters

ON TARGET: New Zealand's Peter Burling and Blair Tuke sail in the ninth race of the 49er class.

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New Zealand's gun 49er sailing crew Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are refusing to look past the next race as they chase Olympic glory on the waters of Weymouth.

The young Kiwis went into a lay day overnight (NZ time) well placed not only for a medal, but for a tilt at gold.

They excelled on the fifth day of the regatta yesterday, in front of friends and family on the Nothe spectator course off the Dorset coastline, carding a seventh, second and a crucial bullet (race win) from the three races to jump from third to second overall.

They also made considerable ground on outstanding Australians Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, who could register only a ninth, fifth and fourth yesterday.

The Kiwis are on 51 points, nine behind the world champion Australians, with 11 of the 15 qualifying races having now been completed.

There will be another two races tonight and Monday, with the double-point medal race on Wednesday.

Burling, 21, and Tuke, 23, have a handy 15-point buffer over the third-placed Lauri Lehtinen and Kalle Bask, of Finland, with the British crew a further eight points back in fourth.

But, befitting of their understated nature, they are not getting carried away.

“We've got a day off and then we've got four more races before the medal race so we've put ourselves in a good position,” Tuke said.

“It was really fun, good to finish the three races on a high into the lay day [overnight] with some good low scores.

“A lot can happen in four races so we're not getting too excited, but we've put ourselves into a good position.”

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- Sunday Star Times

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