New Zealand Jewish Community hails Gold Medal Sailor Jo

August 11, 2012 by Henry Benjamin
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Jo Aleh and her sailing partner Olivia Polly Powrie have won gold in the women’s 470 Olympic event.


Golden Girls Olivia Polly Powrie and Jo Aleh          photo: AAP

With a convincing win over the British team 26-yr-old Aleh is now the proud owner of an Olympic Gold.

Watching her win were her mother Daniella who flew from Auckland for the event and her father Shuki who cane from Israel.

Plans for Aleh to go to Israel for her sister Shefa’s Batmitzvah are now on hold as the New Zealand Olympic Committee are planning a special celebration involving its medal winners in the city of Christchurch devastated by an earthquake in February 2011. Her mother told J-Wire that discussions are taking place to try to make the Batmitzvah,

Aleh became interested in sailing when New Zealand won the Americas Cup in 1995.

President of the New Zealand Jewish Council Stephen Goodman told J-Wire:  “The New Zealand Jewish community is extremely proud of Jo and Polly’s Olympic success; this pride is both as New Zealander’s and as Jews.  To win a gold medal reflects the huge amount of time and effort they have put in.   We offer them our most sincere congratulations.”

Daniella Aleh told J-Wire before the final race: “They had two race wins on tuesday. They won the first race on Wednesday, and came 18th in the second race of the day which then became their discard. So they are now on equal points with the British  girls, but first on count back.Going into the medal race their worst outcome will see them win silver and if they can finish in front of then British girls they gain gold. I don’t know what happened in the second race, there was a wind shift and there were extremely light winds.”

“It probably won’t sink in for a while but it’s pretty cool!” Aleh told BBC Sport after crossing the finishing line:

“I thought even silver was a pretty big deal, but it’s pretty awesome to bring back a gold medal because no New Zealand woman has ever won a medal in a sit-down boat so I’m sitting down and we’ve got one now!”

The results are now in and the Aleh family have got plenty to celebrate. Aleh and her partner are heading to the Olympic Village to prepare for the Closing Ceremony. Her mother told J-Wire: “She was nine when the Kiwis won the Americas Cup and her career in sailing was born. Today she coaches all over New Zealand whenever she can.”

Aleh has been competing in the UK on an annual basis usually spending around six weeks at the sailing events.

She is currently studying for three degrees…in IT, Mechanical Engineering and finance.

In the meantime, there is still some hope that the gold medal will make its way to Moshav Yinon in Southern Israel.

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