Tokyo Olympics 2020: Peter Burling and Blair Tuke continue to improve as home stretch looms in regattas

Blair Tuke and Peter Burling have continued their rise into contention in the 49er at the Tokyo Olympics, moving to the top of the leaderboard for the home stretch of the regatta.

The Kiwi duo pressed their claim for back-to-back Olympic gold medals in Friday’s racing, finishing third, sixth and second to jump to the head of the pack by a sole point.

Now nine races into the 12 that precede the double-points medal race, the defending gold medallists are well poised to find their way back onto the podium, recovering from a 12th-placed finish in the regatta’s opening race to show their championship mettle.

Burling and Tuke made a great start to the seventh race – the first on Friday, leading early and jostling for position at the front of the pack. That was where they stayed, but were unable to go with the German duo of Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel, who took out the race 16 seconds clear of the British duo Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell.

They didn’t have quite the same success in the eighth race. Not able to have the same success off the starting line, Burling and Tuke went around the first marker in eighth. However, they were able to improve slightly throughout the race, moving into sixth at the halfway point where they remained.

In the final race of the day, Burling and Tuke flew home to be the second boat home after spending most of the race at the lower end of the top five.

They now hold the slimmest of leads over Great Britain and Spain with just three races remaining before the medal race.

In the 470, Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox have improved from fifth to third in the overall standings after their sixth race, finishing the race in seventh to continue their incredibly consistent regatta.

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Snow-Hansen and Willcox are yet to finish a race worse than seventh. Their best result was second in race two, but aside from that they have finished either fifth, sixth or seventh. Their consistency has seen them stay well in the medal hunt.

The Australian duo look set to run away with the 470 gold however, with an 11-point lead on the crew from Great Britain. Snow-Hansen and Willcox are a further five points back, holding on to third place by just one point.

How our sailing crews are placed:
Blair Tuke and Peter Burling (49er) – first overall after 9/12 races
Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox (men’s 470) – third overall after 6/10 races
Josh Junior (men’s Finn) – seventh overall after 6/10 races
Sam Meech (men’s Laser) – 13th overall after 9/10 races
Erica Dawson and Micah Wilkinson (Nacra 17) – 12th overall after 6/12 races
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (49er FX) – eighth overall after 8/12 races

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