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NZ sailing pair narrowly miss 470 Olympic bronze

New Zealand sailing duo Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox have finished fourth in the men's 470 at the Tokyo Olympics following a third-place finish in the medal race this afternoon.

New Zealand's Dan Willcox and Paul Snow-Hansen compete during the 470 men race at the Enoshima harbour. Source: Associated Press

The Kiwis headed into the race in fourth, six points behind Spain, and needed to finish at least two spots above the Spaniards in order to snatch the bronze medal.

They crossed the line in third, but the Spaniards finished fifth and retained their bronze medal spot by just two points.

The Kiwis were right in the mix from the start, but so were Spain. The two boats jostled at the front of the race, the Spaniards desperate not to concede the medal position.

But it was the Swedes and Australians who rounded the first mark in the lead, the Kiwis falling back to fifth, two places behind Spain.

In an interesting move, the Kiwis went to the right side of the course, isolating themselves from the rest of the field on the left.

The Australians – who had dominated the entire competition from start to finish – led at the second mark, closely followed by Sweden and Spain. The New Zealanders were not far behind in fourth.

Snow-Hansen and Willcox managed to push past the Spanish on the third leg, but still had to put at least another boat between them to jump into the medal spots.

Their hopes fell on the American boat, who went around the third mark four seconds behind the Spaniards. Their wishes were answered as the Americans went past the Spanish. However, they also passed the Kiwis, not helping the New Zealand cause.

The Kiwis didn’t panic, beating the Americans around the final mark, but they couldn't get past the Swedes to move into second. The Spanish crew's fifth-place finish gave them an overall score of 55. The New Zealand pair finished just behind on 57 points.

Australian duo Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan easily won the race and the gold medal, scoring an incredible 23 points overall. The Swedes won silver with 45 points.

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