The silver medal effort of Sarah Goss’s women’s rugby team was today’s major New Zealand talking point at the Olympics.
The New Zealand side outplayed Great Britain in the semi-finals, but found Australia too hot in the final, going down 24-17.
Australia have been the form team on the international sevens circuit this year, but New Zealanders were hoping their side could pull off a gold medal victory.
Captain Sarah Goss said her team were “gutted” with the loss, but at least had the satisfaction of leaving Rio with a silver medal.
The men’s sevens tournament starts tomorrow.
The other big discussion point of the day for many New Zealanders was the startling comeback of the equestrian three-day event team.
After falling off the pace slightly in the dressage section, the New Zealanders fought back so well that they ended the cross-country section in second place going into the final day of showjumping tomorrow. In addition, Mark Todd, 60, and competing in his eighth Olympics, is fourth in the individual section of the three-day event.
The day didn’t begin well for the New Zealanders when Tim Price’s Ringwood Sky Boy fell and had to withdraw. But Todd, Jonelle Price and Clarke Johnstone all rode magnificently to put New Zealand in the thick of medal contention.
There were several other noteworthy New Zealand performances today.
Darcina Manuel grabbed a well-deserved ninth place in the 57kg judo, despite striking a particularly difficult draw.
Luuka Jones was in outstanding form in the K1 slalom and ended the qualifying section in fourth place. This is Jones’ third Olympics and the Tauranga woman is clearly benefiting from her years of international experience. She looked as good as anyone on the slalom course today.
Sam Meech made a satisfactory start to his laser campaign, ended the first day of competition in sixth place and within sight of the leaders.
It wasn’t the greatest day for the New Zealand rowers. The men’s quad sculls failed to progress, and the men’s and women’s eights must go to repechages after failing to win their heats.
The lightweight women’s double scullers, Sophie MacKenzie and Julia Edward, were second in their heat, good enough to progress to the semi-final. And Rebecca Scown and Genevieve in the women’s pair did double duty. After rowing in the women’s eight they were back on the water a couple of hours later, and not showing any ill effects of their rigorous morning. They won their heat well to also progress to the semi-finals.
The New Zealand women’s hockey team, so buoyant after their 4-1 win over South Korea, suffered a reverse when they were beaten 2-1 by Germany. They need a good win to boost their chances of booking a spot in the quarter-finals.
The other New Zealander in action today was swimmer Bradlee Ashby in the 200m butterfly. He finished last of the qualifiers, but in actual fact is eyeing up his premier event, the 200m individual medley later in the week.Rio 2016 Olympic Summer Games Shakira Baker Terina Te Tamaki Tyla Nathan-Wong Theresa Fitzpatrick Sarah Hirini Niall Williams Huriana Manuel Kelsey Smith Kirsten Pearce Kelly Brazier Portia Woodman Kayla Ahki Gayle Broughton Ruby Tui Liz Thompson Olivia Merry Brooke Neal Sophie Cocks Darcina Manuel Bradlee Ashby Rose Keddell Sophie MacKenzie Sam Meech Petrea Webster Samantha Charlton Julia Edward Anita McLaren Sally Rutherford Luuka Jones Clarke Johnstone Pippa Hayward Gemma McCaw Stacey Michelsen Charlotte Harrison Jonelle Price Kayla Whitelock Mark Todd Equestrian - Eventing Hockey Judo Rowing Sailing Canoe/Kayak - Slalom Rugby - Sevens Swimming