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Sailor Sam Meech in medal hunt, Burling and Tuke remain strong

Sam Meech has set himself up for New Zealand's first sailing medal at Rio after qualifying third for Laser class deciding race.

Meech is third heading into Tuesday's top-10 Olympic medal race although gold will be out of reach.

The first-time Olympian from Tauranga won the 10th and final qualifying race to end a mid-regatta slump and leave himself well placed for bronze in the double-points race.

Sixth overnight, he notched a 12th placing and the win today to put his qualifying tally at 77 points.

He can't catch Croatian leader Tonci Stipanovic (57 points) but could claim silver if finishes well ahead of second-placed Australian Tom Burton (67).

He will be wary of Frenchman Jean Baptiste Bernaz, who sits nine points back in fourth.

Three other Kiwi crews are in the top four overall after racing in light conditions.

World champion 49er pairing Peter Burling and Blair Tuke weren't as dominant following two opening-day wins.

They raced four times, producing finishes ranging from second to eighth. They lead on 15 points but German pair Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel have loomed up behind on 18 points after a strong day.

Women's 49erFX pair Alex Maloney and Molly Meech have been consistent through their first six races, placing in the top six for all of them to share second place.

The former world champions won the last race to climb level with Brazil on 19 points. Denmark's Jena Hansen and Katja Steen Salskov-Iversen lead on 12.

Jason Saunders and Gemma Jones continue to hold fourth place in the Nacra 17 after a solid day and are just five points behind leading Australians Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin.

Argentina and Great Britain share second in the mixed catamaran class which is making its Games debut.

Inconsistent Finn sailor Josh Junior was second in his second race of the day to open the possibility of making his medal race.

With two qualifying races to sail, Junior is 13th and four points outside 10th place. However, a medal would be a long shot.

It was a rest day for women's 470 crew Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie, who are sixth at the midway point of their title defence.

Thirteenth-placed men's 470 Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox also had the day off.

Sam Meech (NZL)  on Day 1 , Race 2 of the Mens Laser, Guanabara Bay. © Copyright photo: Richard Gladwell /www.photosport.nz
Sam Meech Source: Associated Press