Olympics-Sailing-New Zealand 49er men clinch gold; women's medal-hunt tight
By Jeb Blount
RIO DE JANEIRO Aug 16 (Reuters) - The New Zealand duo of skipper Peter Burling and crew Blair Tuke clinched gold in the men's 49er two-person skiff class one day ahead of the final medal race, continuing their dominance of the event.
Burling and Tuke, the only team to finish every one of their first ten races in the top ten, have built an insurmountable 34 point lead over the second place team heading into the medal race, Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel of Germany.
The German pair will fight it out for silver and bronze in the medal race Thursday with Australia's Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, now in third overall, and Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Alain Sign of Great Britain, in fourth.
In the women's 49er FX the four top boats have a chance to win a medal, with the remaining six qualifiers mathematically out of chances.
Three of those boats are tied and the other is one point down. That means their podium positions, or place of it, will depend on their finishes in the medal race scheduled for Thursday.
The four boats are the Spanish duo of skipper Tamara Echegoyen Dominguez and crew Berta Betanzos Moro, Brazil's Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze -- Brazil's last hope for a sailing medal -- Denmark's Jena Hansen and Katja Steen Salskov-Iverson, and New Zealand's Alex Maloney and Molly Meech.
Meech's brother Sam won bronze in the men's Laser class on Tuesday. (Reporting by Jeb Blount; Editing by Jan Harvey)
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