The New Zealand Sailing Team has announced changes to the squad preparing for the Paris 2024 Games.
Jo Aleh who won Olympic gold in 2012 and silver in 2016 with Polly Powrie in the women’s 470, is returning to Olympic sailing, but switching to the 49erFX.
Changes to the Olympic classes for 2024 have reduced the 470 events to a single mixed crew event, which has meant the breakup of many long-time, single gender crew combinations, and a new focus on mixed crew 470 sailing.
Jo Aleh will team up with 2016 Olympic 49erFX silver medallist and former 49erFX world champion Molly Meech.
The move follows the a disappointing 12th place finish for Meech and Alex Maloney in the 49erFX at the Tokyo 2020 Games, after which they announced a split following ten years sailing together.
The 35 year-old Aleh had been coaching New Zealand’s top Nacra 17 sailors since her retirement from top 470 sailing, but decided that she would see what more she could achieve with a new challenge in the 49erFX.
With the Paris Olympics only two-and-a-half years away, the new pairing will leap into the fray at the upcoming New Zealand 49erFX national championships.
They will then relocate to Europe, starting with the opening event of the Hempel World Cup Series, the Trofeo Princesa Sofía on Mallorca.
Britain’s 470 gold medal winning pair, Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre have also taken different paths.
Mills retiring from Olympic sailing, to concentrate on the SailGP circuit and her charity the Big Plastic Pledge. And McIntyre expected to continue in the 470 with a new partner.
The 2024 Paris Olympic classes are:
women’s ILCA 6, 49erFX, IQ Foil and Formula Kite; men’s ILCA 7, 49er, IQ Foil and Formula Kite; and the mixed 470 and Nacra 17.