NZ Olympians Set Sights on Golden Future
By Radix Team 19/06/2017 12:31 pm
Maloney & Meech

Molly Meech and Alex Maloney sail New Zealand’s women’s 49er FX skiff. Meech crews and Maloney helms – working synergistically to get the best performance from their 49er FX boat. Both ladies fought hard at their first Olympic Games in Rio, 2016 and their efforts were rewarded with Silver Medals in their class, representing New Zealand. The pair launched their Olympic campaign three years previously, following the announcement that the women’s 49er FX skiff would be an Olympic event at the 2016 Olympics. Having tasted International acclaim and success, the pair have no desire to stop there. With a new Radix Nutrition sponsorship deal, the dynamic duo is now campaigning for the Tokyo Olympic Games, in 2020.

Radix recently caught up with the pair, who both live on Auckland’s North Shore.

Sam Clark wins the C2C

“We met through Junior sailing,” Maloney said; “when our brothers also sailed and raced together. Aside from being friends, we are a complimentary pair physically – She is tall and strong, I am shorter. Her role in the boat is very physically demanding and I am often making tactical decisions while she is grafting away.”

As youngsters, Meech sailed a Laser Radial and represented New Zealand at the World Sailing Youth Championships twice. Maloney came third overall at the 2007 Optimist World Championships and won further medals in the youth class 420 and 29er boats. In 2013, Meech and Maloney joined forces and won the 49erFX World Championship. The pair have been racing together for almost six years.

Asked what their biggest achievement is, both were in agreement.

“Winning our Silver Medals at the Olympic Games,” Meech said. “Standing on the podium felt surreal. I knew it was a special moment, but what we had actually achieved didn’t sink in for weeks.”

“That incredible high was the culmination of a four-year campaign, with many ups and downs,” Maloney added. “Early on, in 2013, Molly and I won the Worlds, but in 2014 we didn’t even qualify for the Worlds medal race. It was a shock and we had to go back and analyse where we had gone wrong. Perhaps then, I learned the biggest lesson to never get complacent or expect to do well again.”

Maloney has sailed all her life and is a representative of the Murrays Bay Sailing Club. She grew up on the family cruising sail boat. She said; “Mum and Dad raced dinghies and we lived on a boat and sailed around the South Pacific when I was aged five to eight. My brothers were always sailing and I wanted to join in – it felt natural to get involved.”

Meech had a similar start and spent her childhood on the family cruising yacht, circumnavigating the globe. She later sailed competitively at the Tauranga Yacht and Powerboat Club – where her brother, Sam Meech, was already sailing competitively in a Laser. The impressive siblings both won medals at the Rio Olympic Games, last year.

Sam Clark wins the C2C

Sailing is physically and mentally draining – not for the faint-hearted. To compete amongst the top sailors in the world requires talent, support and plenty of determination.

Meech said; “I feel like I have been in the right place at the right time. I lived with my brother who was already involved in competitive sailing and I saw that he could study and sail. Without that insight, it might have appeared too difficult. Thankfully, we have very supportive and encouraging parents. I have fun sailing, but without that guidance, I might not have ended up where I am now.”

To sustain hours of gruelling training every day, the ladies are no strangers to eating for maximum performance gains.

 “We eat what we want, which tends to be healthy, because it fuels us better for our sport,” said Maloney. “A nutritious diet is key, I focus on variety, although I am not a big fan of red meat. I do enjoy dark chocolate though – I like to think that compensates and helps keep my iron intake up!”

Meech told us there isn’t anything she avoids; “I’ve lived with guys for six years in a shared athlete house and we eat a similar diet. It is easier when everyone is on the same wavelength. Luckily, Alex and I are a good natural weight for the boat, without having to restrict ourselves.”

Both women are excited to use Radix meals as part of their upcoming training schedule.

Meech said; “I am looking forward to having a simple solution when sourcing food is difficult - particularly, when we are travelling. It will also be fantastic for long training days. I can refuel with the macronutrients I need.”

“Making nutrition a priority is vital and with Radix, this is achievable,” added Maloney. “Trusting others to get it right for us is imperative and we know the quality of Radix ingredients are the best. We have long days at the boat park and knowing a nutritious meal can be ready in minutes is reassuring. I am not a fan of protein supplements or shakes, so for me, it’s awesome the breakfast meals contain protein.”

Meech concluded; “Radix is reliable, high-quality nutrition that can buy back time in my schedule. The breakfasts are great – they contain many foods I try to eat regularly for their nutritional benefits.”

Sam Clark wins the C2C

Radix asked what Meech and Maloney love most about sailing.

Maloney said; “In sailing there are relaxed attitudes to gender and much of my experience has been gained while sailing with women and men. As a junior, I was competing against girls and boys. That helped me to develop an attitude that we were all equals in our boats. It boosted my confidence, which has influenced my sailing career. Sailing is cool in that way – it is empowering for me as a female athlete wanting to break new ground.”

Meech added; “We are in an era of change and there are new opportunities opening for women like myself and Alex, such as participating in match or ocean racing. The future as a female sailor is exciting. Obviously, our next major goal is to get a gold medal in Tokyo 2020. The build-up begins early and we are already campaigning now. Heading to the World Championship in Portugal, from August 28 until September 2, is all part of the preparation. It is important we get a good result under our belts.”

Finally, we asked both ladies what one mantra they live by.

“I love mottos!” Maloney said. “My favourite is, ‘Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.’ It helps me to be brave without fear of failure.”

Meech added; “To make sure I enjoy every day – ‘it is all about the journey, not just the destination’ – when you work for four years to take part in one race, it is important to remain grounded and make the most of every day.”

Follow the Radix Bulletin as Meech and Maloney prepare for the World Championship later this year.

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