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Powrie announces retirement from sailing

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/01/2017 Daniel Gilhooly

The drive to chase a third Olympic medal isn't there for accomplished New Zealand sailor Polly Powrie, who has retired at the age 29.

Powrie and Jo Aleh, colloquially known as Team Jolly, formed one of New Zealand's most successful sports combinations, winning women's 470 class gold at the 2012 London Olympics.

They were silver medallists at last August's Games in Rio, their last regatta together in an eight-year association which also netted five world championships medals.

World champions in 2013, they were also named that year's ISAF Female World Sailors of the Year.

While Aleh, 30, has said she will target the Japan 2020 Olympics in some capacity, Powrie says she has achieved all she wants in the sport and is lacking the motivation to continue.

She has wrestled with a decision since Rio.

"I had to ask the question, `was I excited about going again and did I still feel like there was a challenge to achieve?'," she said.

"I also had to take family into consideration and decided it was time to move on and experience different things and challenge myself in different ways."

Powrie has secured a job in the property industry and wants to utilise a business degree she has chipped away at over the last decade.

She wants to remain involved in sailing, as a weekend racer and possibly in a coaching capacity.

Nervous at breaking the news to Aleh, Powrie was delighted to get a positive response from her crewmate.

Aleh, who is taking this year off Olympic class sailing to try big boat racing, can relate to her close friend's onshore tack.

"I had a great eight years with Polly," Aleh said. "I know her so well, so it's a bit sad it's over but I support whatever she wants to do."

The travel and challenges of competing internationally would remain as abiding in the memory bank as her victories, Powrie said.

"We had something really special there and I will always cherish that. It was extremely difficult at times but, for the most part, it was really enjoyable.

"To win gold and silver was a real highlight, but it was often the things we achieved which weren't always publicly visible which brought a lot of satisfaction."

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