August 9, 2012
New Zealand Jewish sailor Jo Aleh guaranteed medal
New Zealand Jewish sailor Jo Aleh is guaranteed an Olympic medal with just one race left in the women’s 470 regatta.
Aleh, 26, whose parents are dual Israel-New Zealand citizens, and partner Polly Powrie are tied for first after nine races.
The Kiwi pair will meet the British duo of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark in the gold medal race on Friday. Aleh and Powrie let an eight-point lead slip after the eighth race.
“We had a pretty good first race today, which helped us a little bit but then we followed it up with our little stuff-up,” Aleh said after the ninth race Wednesday. “It’s left us still in a pretty good spot.”
The Brits and Kiwis are far ahead of third-place the Netherlands; it would require a disqualification to deny either the gold or silver medals.
Aleh, a former national champion and 2007 world champion, finished seventh at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. She is a member of Beth Shalom, a Progressive congregation in Auckland, according to New Zealand Jewish Council President Stephen Goodman.
Her father, Shuki, flew in from Israel and her mother, Daniella, who lived in Israel for eight years, arrived from New Zealand earlier this week.
Aleh has a half-sister, Shefa, and a half-brother, Yaam, in Israel. Her parents met in Israel after they completed their military service but were married in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Australian sprinter Steven Solomon’s Olympic run has ended with the 4x400-meter relay team failing to qualify for the finals. Solomon, competing at his first Olympics, led off for the Australian team, posting a respectable 45.6-second leg. In the men’s individual 440, he ran two personal bests, including a sub-45-second run, to qualify for the finals, in which he finished eighth.
Also at the Olympics on Thursday, Israeli rhythmic gymnast Neta Rivkin is in 14th place in the qualifying round after performing her hoop and ball routines. She was ranked seventh after her hoop routine but dropped her ball. She will compete with ribbon and clubs in two routines on Friday. She must finish in the top 10 to compete in the finals.
Rivkin received Israel’s first rhythmic gymnastics medal, a bronze, in the individual hoop final at the 2011 World Championships in France. She placed 10th in the all-around competition. The Olympics do not offer medals in individual apparatus in rhythmic gymnastics.
The Israeli rhythmic gymnastics team was in eighth place following the ball routine; the finals are on Sunday. The team placed 10th at the 2011 World Championships.