Promising Olympic campaign for NZ 470 men

FRED WOODCOCK IN WEYMOUTH
Last updated 05:28 11/08/2012
Jason Saunders and Paul Snow-Hansen
Reuters
STRONG SHOWING: New Zealand's Jason Saunders and Paul Snow-Hansen finsihed fifth in the men's 470 sailing class at the London Olympics.

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New Zealand men's 470 skipper Paul Snow-Hansen thinks he might be in the first phase of some sort of addiction after completing his first Olympic campaign with a credible fifth.

Snow-Hansen and his crew Jason Saunders, both 21, needed a sailing miracle to snatch a bronze medal in today's medal race but it never looked likely off Weymouth.

They had to win the top-10 medal race and hope third-placed Argentina finished ninth or 10th, and fourth-placed Italy finished seventh or worse, to claim the most unlikeliest bronze medal.

But with Australia and Britain in such imperious form all they could manage was seventh, which was good enough by one point to retain fifth overall in an encouraging Games debut.

The world champion Australians, Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, were second in the medal race to win gold from Britain's Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell, who were fourth.

"If you'd asked me at any point in the last four years, I would've been over the moon with this result," Snow-Hansen said, before admitting they had hoped for better as they approached the final three races just one point adrift of the medals.

However, inexperience showed and mistakes were costly as they dropped out of contention.

"Everyone out there knows something they could've done that would've helped get them closer to the medals, and we're definitely one of them," he said.

"We have learned a lot, and I guess being a young team we were always going to have a few things, but we had a few too many that let it slip away."

Still, there is no denying they have been the big improvers this year of the nine Olympic sailing crews.

"We hadn't been treating this as a stepping stone, we really wanted to perform and get a medal here. It's been a great journey and I'm looking forward to another one.

"It feels like the start of some sort of addiction. I can definitely say that I would love to get a medal after having it in my sights here. It's been really cool." 

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- Fairfax Media

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