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Tokyo2020: Kiwis send strong team for test event

by Michael Brown/Yachting NZ 28 Jun 12:49 BST 28 June 2019
Andy Maloney - NZL - Day 6 - European Finn Championships - Athens International Sailing Centre - May 2019 © Robert Deaves / Finn Class

New Zealand will send a team of 10 sailors to August's Olympic test event in Enoshima, which will effectively act as a dry run for competitors, support staff and organisers 12 months out from the Tokyo Games.

New Zealand has so far qualified six classes for next year's Olympics and all six will be represented at the test event and will all go into it in good form. The sailing will be at Enoshima, 70km south-west of Tokyo.

Andy Maloney has won the nod in the Finn after winning both the World Cup Series Final in Marseille and Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma and collecting silver at the Finn European championships in Athens.

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox also won the men's 470 at the World Cup Series event in Genoa and backed it up with third at the 470 European championships; Peter Burling and Blair Tuke won last month's 49er European title - their first international gold medal since their return to the class; Laser sailor Sam Meech has claimed silvers at his last three regattas (Miami World Cup Series, Hyeres regatta and Laser European championships) and Alex Maloney and Molly Meech picked up silver medals in both Miami and Palma.

Nacra 17 combination Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders round out the New Zealand team to compete at the test event and have collected four top-10 results at international regattas this year.

"Congratulations to those sailors selected for the test event," Yachting New Zealand high performance director Ian Stewart said. "This is an opportunity to race on the Olympic courses in an Olympic environment as a dress rehearsal. Any good racing at the venue is key because the emphasis for this year is on understanding the conditions in Enoshima."

There's still a long way to go before the sailing team is finalised for the Tokyo Games and most in the wider New Zealand squads will train and race in Japan over the next couple of months.

The Laser world championships are being held in Sakaiminato in the first week of July and the 470 world championships in Enoshima in early August. The Olympic test event is scheduled for August 17-22 and will be immediately followed by a World Cup Series regatta at the same venue.

New Zealand team to compete at the Olympic test event in Enoshima (Aug 17-22):

Nacra 17: Gemma Jones & Jason Saunders Men's 470: Paul Snow-Hansen & Dan Willcox 49erFX: Alex Maloney & Molly Meech 49er: Peter Burling & Blair Tuke Laser: Sam Meech Finn: Andy Maloney

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