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Aussies sail into the medals at opening World Cup

23 October 2017

SAILING: Mat Belcher and Will Ryan have added yet another string to their bow with a convincing Gold medal victory in the 470 class at the World Cup round one event at Gamagori, Japan, while Rio Olympic Gold medallist Tom Burton put in a stirring final day performance to pinch Bronze in the Laser class.

The men’s 470 Medal race was called off due to worsening conditions, as Typhoon Lan approached from the south-east on Sunday. But it was unlikely to have made much of a difference to the result, as Belcher and Ryan held a comfortable 14-point lead over nearest rivals Tetsuya Isozaki and Akira Takayanagi and 20 points over third-placed Ryo Imamura and Jumpei Hokazono after the seven completed races.

“We got sent out and were about to start the race but then the Japanese coast guard cancelled the racing,” seven-time World Champion Belcher said shortly after the medal presentation.

“Shame we didn’t get to race today but Will and I were really happy with our sailing this week. It was really challenging conditions but we managed to get around the course well.

“It’s always nice to win a World Cup. Although, after experiencing seven days of competition in which it rained all day and we were racing in light conditions, I’m looking forward to getting back to Australia.”

In the Laser class, Burton pushed his way onto the podium with a Medal race victory, ahead of fellow Australian Matt Wearn, who came seventh overall in the 50-yacht fleet.

“I picked the right side of the course and got a nice shift to lead the entire way around and get the Bronze medal,” Burton said.

“It was a nice way to finish a tough week, but I made too many mistakes to really mix it up for the top of the podium.

“It’s nice to have some regattas with less pressure and be able to try a few things that we can carry over to the Australian summer.”

Burton’s teammates Mitchell Kennedy finished 11th, Luke Elliott 28th, Finn Alexander 30th, Jeremy O’Connell 41st and Daniel Self came 45th.

Rio Olympians, 470 women’s crew, Carrie Smith and Jaime Ryan finished sixth and Nia Jerwood and Monique de Vries ended up 10th, while Dana Tavener and Katherine Shannon came 14th. 470 crew Chris Charlwood and Josh Dawson came 21st in the 24-yacht fleet.


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