20 Aug 2016

New Zealand's medal tally on the rise

3:02 pm on 20 August 2016

Rio 2016 Olympics - New Zealand's Olympic flag bearers Blair Tuke and Peter Burling have already secured the gold medal in the men's 49er class without even competing in their final race.

After finishing today's first race in fifth, the pair guaranteed themselves the gold with two races to spare.

They backed up their fifth with a fourth in the second race of the day, stretching their lead again.

There's no time to celebrate just yet though, they'll have to wait until after Friday's medal race to receive their Olympic golds.

Tuke and Burling won silver at the London Games four years ago and are the current four time defending 49er World Champions.

New Zealand's Peter Burling and New Zealand's Blair Tuke compete in the 49er Men sailing class on Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janerio during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on August 12, 2016.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke compete at the Rio 2016 Olympics Photo: AFP

Also claiming a medal was men's Laser competitor Sam Meech who won bronze following this morning's medal race.

Meech finished fourth in the medal race behind Brazil's Robert Scheidt, France's Jean Baptiste Bernaz and Australia's Tom Burton, but had enough points to secure the bronze medal.

Fellow New Zealand sailors Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders finished fourth overall in the Nacra 17.

Sam Meech competing in the Laser Men's racing at the weekend. 13 August 2016.

Sam Meech Photo: AFP

Meanwhile New Zealand's third official gold medal went to Lisa Carrington in this morning's K1 200 metre final.

Carrington defended her London 2012 gold medal by just point four of a second over her nearest rival.

There's no rest for the wicked though, Carrington's already been back on the water preparing for tomorrow's K1 500 metre heats which begin around 1am New Zealand time.

New Zealand's Lisa Carrington in the womens K1 200m, Rio Olympics Games 2016, Rio de Janeiro.

Lisa Carrington Photo: Photosport

At the velodrome, Lauren Ellis stormed home in the final points race in the women's Omnium to move from seventh to fourth overall.

Ellis finished second in the points race, elevating her into the top four just 10 points behind the bronze medal winner - Belgium's Jolien D'Hoore.

New Zealand track cyclist Lauren Ellis.

New Zealand track cyclist Lauren Ellis. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

On the athletics track, New Zealand's 1500m specialist, Nick Willis, has qualified for the semifinals.

Willis, competing in his fourth Olympics, ran most of the race at the back of the field but came through in a strong finish down the straight to place sixth and advance to the semis in a time of 3min 38.5s.

The other New Zealanders in the 1500m, Julian Matthews and Hamish Carson, failed to make the semifinals.

Also on the track overnight was 5000 metre runner Nikki Hamblin who produced one of the highlights of the Rio Olympics for all the right reasons.

In the fourth lap, Hamblin tripped and fell along with US runner Abbey D'Agostino.

The pair both picked each other up and helped one and other to the finish line in a true act of sportsmanship.

Both runners will go into the final.

New Zealand runner Nikki Hamblin gives Abbey D'Agostino a hand during their race Photo: AFP

Hamblin finished 86 seconds behind the winner.

The two women embraced after the race before D'Agostino was taken from the field in a wheelchair after injuring her knee in the collision.

Athletics officials now ruled both runners will advance to the final.

In other events, pole vaulter Eliza McCartney qualified for the Olympic final, clearing 4.60m after causing some nervous moments for New Zealand supporters by having two misses at 4.45m.

New Zealand now has three golds, six silvers and one bronze medal.