New Zealand Jewish sailor guaranteed medal

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – 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 Israeli-New Zealand citizens, is in joint first place with her partner Polly Powrie after nine races.

The Kiwi pair now face a showdown against the British duo of Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark in the gold medal race on Friday.

But they 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 race. “It’s left us still in a pretty good spot.”

The Brits and Kiwis are far ahead of third-placed Netherlands; it would therefore require disqualification to deny either gold or silver.

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 dream run has ended, with the 4×400-meter relay team failing to qualify for the final. Solomon, competing at his first Olympics, led the Australian team, posting a respectable 45.6-second run. He ran two personal bests, including a sub-45-second run, to qualify for the men’s 400-meter final, in which he finished eighth.

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