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The New Zealand sailors have arrived in Enoshima, the venue for the sailing, and are gearing up for the start of the Olympic regatta next weekend.

New Zealand will have sailors in six of the 10 classes on the Olympic programme and all are medal contenders, including 2016 medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (49er), Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (49erFX) and Sam Meech (Laser).

The majority of the sailing team landed in Japan on Thursday night and spent the first day on the ground rigging their boats up in preparation to go sailing. Finn sailor Josh Junior joined the team on Friday night, having flown from Spain where he had been based since his bronze at the Finn Gold Cup.

Meech will be the first Kiwi in action when the Laser gets under way on July 25 and he’s be looking to add to the bronze he collected in Rio in 2016.

"It’s really exciting," Meech said. "It was neat to go down to get the boat [on the first day] and see it all branded up and see everyone who I haven’t seen for a year.

"It’s been a while since we’ve been racing so it was neat to get back down there. It does feel like the Olympics, with everyone in their uniforms and the boats looking good."

Meech was consistently among the medallists during the last Olympic cycle but has had a lack of international competition over the past year due to Covid-19.

"It has been really difficult not racing so it's been a completely different buildup," Meech said. "You’d normally be racing every couple of months so you’d have your goals to work on from those races and you structure your year around those.

"We tried to do the same but just around training blocks and you take as much as you can from those. We have also been heading to Australia [to train with their best Laser sailors], which has helped, and treated them almost like regattas. We haven’t checked in with the Europeans since February last year so it will be interesting to see how they are all going.”

Light winds are forecast for the next few days in Enoshima.


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