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Double gold for Kiwi sailors in Spain

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 2/04/2016
Andy Maloney © Getty Images Andy Maloney

Josh Junior has won Finn gold and fellow Kiwi Andy Maloney taken out the Laser class at the Princess Sofia Trophy regatta in Spain.

Junior headed into the final medal race in Palma with a 19-point lead, meaning he just had to complete the course to claim gold at the annual competition for Olympic classes.

With the Rio Olympics firmly in mind, Junior finished fifth to take the regatta 27 points ahead of his nearest rival.

World champion Giles Scott (Britain) was second, Junior ending his three-year run of consecutive regatta wins.

Eight out of the 10 sailors on the Finn medal race start-line had already been selected for the Rio Olympics, with Junior one of two still vying for tightly contested selection decisions.

"It's my first ever win in Europe - it feels great and I want to do it again," he said.

"This is probably the most competitive event leading into the Olympics, so this is a great one to win. I'm very pleased to have chipped away with a lot of top five places and won the regatta with a day to go."

In the Laser class, Maloney built on a strong start to deliver a brilliant performance over the six-day regatta.

He held a share of the lead after day one, stepped clear ahead on the leaderboard on day two and never looked like relinquishing his lead.

"I was looking to sail consistently this week, which I did," Maloney said afterwards.

Only Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia was in a position to challenge Maloney for the gold medal, and the Kiwi made sure that wasn't going to happen.

"Today I wanted to treat it like the Olympics. Only Tonci could beat me - I had to cover him, and so I executed that strategy well."

Brazilian Robert Schedit, a multiple world champion in the Laser and Star classes, won the final medal race to secure silver with Stipanovic third.

Both Junior and Maloney now turn their focus to the next European event on the calendar, the World Cup in Hyeres, France on April 22-26.

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