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Sailors secure first country quotas for Tokyo 2020

10 August 2018

SAILING: Australian crews at opposite ends of experience spectrum have secured Australian qualification places for the Tokyo Olympics, despite moderate fortunes on the final day of racing in their respective classes at the World Championships in Denmark.

470 experts Mat Belcher and Will Ryan were focused on the positives after a challenging week at Aarhus, pleased they’d achieved their main objective of ensuring a country quota position, but philosophical about their 5th placing overall.

Similarly, young 49erFX pair Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot were unable to capitalise on their hard work throughout the regatta to be among the medals, but could be content in the aftermath at having made sure Australia will be offered a spot in the class for 2020.

Belcher and Ryan, the 2014 World Champions and Rio Olympics silver medallists, were only occasionally at their dominating best during the regatta, but the the most important hurdle was cleared without much drama.

“It’s been a challenging week for us. But the positive side is that we got the country qualification and learnt some pretty good lessons here. … We look forward to improving on that position for next year,” said Belcher, who won Olympic gold at London in 2012.

“We finished 5th overall, 4th in the [medal] race itself. We had an opportunity to medal. It was pretty close on points and quite a difficult race. … We slipped back a position, but finished 4th in the race. So it was just one of those weeks, I guess.”

Crew Ryan suggested the result would act as an inspiration to keep working hard.

“It’s been positive in that this was the first chance to qualify for the Olympics and we’ve done that now. I think that’s a step in the right direction and now we can really focus on that and pinpoint the events we need to look at,” he said.

“We’ve got a lot of things that we can improve on and, ultimately, that’s why we’re doing this, to try to be better, and I think we’re in a great spot to try to capitalise on that going forward.”

The pair’s next assignment is the World Cup Series event in September at the home of the 2020 Olympic regatta.

It was a closer call for Bryant and Wilmot who, after storming into 2nd place the previous day, dropped to 11th and will miss the medal race on Friday. Nevertheless, with the top eight 49erFX nations gaining qualification for Tokyo, the teenagers did exceptionally well to ensure an Australian boat will be offered a spot.

“Since we’re still quite new to the class, I feel like the stress did get to us a little bit,” Bryant said before being certain they’d secured the qualification.

“Usually we’d be quite fine with it and be able to deal with it. But when we weren’t able to concentrate on exactly what we were doing, some of our manoeuvres and technique went out the window. So it wasn’t ideal. When it comes to us naturally, after a lot more hard work, I think we’re going to do just fine.”

There was great news for Australia in the Nacra 17, where Nathan Outteridge and Haylee Outteridge scored 1, 3 and 5 in gold fleet racing to rocket up to 1st place.

The opening finals race was a 1-2 for Australia, with Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin slotting in, before ending up 6th overall. Three further finals races are scheduled for tonight (AEST) before a medal race on Sunday.

All eyes will be on the Laser fleet next, however, where Matt Wearn (2nd) and Tom Burton (6th) are in the hunt going into their medal race tonight (AEST). Wearn is just 4 points behind leader Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus. Finn Alexander finished off his regatta on a high note with a Race 10 bullet. All five Australian Team and Squad members in the Laser class will finish inside the top 20.

For all Australian sailing stories and results from the 2018 World Championships, check out the Australian Sailing Team website HERE. Further details about Olympic qualification quotas are avaiable HERE.

AUSTRALIAN TEAM AND SQUAD CURRENT RESULTS
Laser
Matt Wearn – 7, 4, 1, 4, 3, 1 Gold Fleet 3, 9, (14), 13 – 2nd
Tom Burton – 1, 5, 6, 1, 2, 27 Gold Fleet 11, 5, (DSQ), 19 – 6th
Finn Alexander – 6, 7, 5, 40, 16, 14 Gold Fleet 10, (BFD), 18, 1 –13th
Luke Elliott – (13), 1, 2, 6, 3, 1 Gold Fleet (48), 21, 29, 45 – 15th
Mitch Kennedy – 8, 10, 22, 3, 4, 5 Gold Fleet (42), 25, 27, 11 – 16th

Laser Radial - completed
Zoe Thomson – 28, 15, 4, 24, 5, 30 Gold Fleet 35, (59), 52, 35 – 43rd
Elyse Ainsworth – 21, 27, 28, 23, 22, (38) Gold Fleet 34, 20, (54), 18 – 44th
Mara Stransky – 27, 34, (43), 41, 41, 12 Silver Fleet 11, 5, 12, 18 – 62nd

49er
David Gilmour/Joel Turner – 5, 1, 15, 14, 2, 23 Gold Fleet 13, 7, 10, (29) – 16th
Will Phillips/Iain Jensen – 3, (19), 6, 1, 6, 12 Gold Fleet 9, 19, 24, 19 – 20th
Lachy Gilmour/Ryan Donaldson – 20, 13, 7, (26), 14, 7 Silver Fleet 2, 2, 11, 22, 9, 11 – 35th
Kurt Hansen/Harry Morton – 15, (27), 18, 18, 17, 18 Silver Fleet 6, 25, 18, 16, 7, BFD – 73rd

49erFX - completed
Natasha Bryant/Annie Wilmot - 7, 13, (14), 1, 9, 2 Gold Fleet 2, 13, 5, (28), 28, 26 – 11th
Amelia Stabback/Ella Clark - 5, 5, 13, 12, 17, 9 Gold Fleet 19, (28), 21, 19, 12, 11 – 21st
Tess Lloyd/Jaime Ryan – (21), 20, 18, 17, 8, 15 Silver Fleet 13, 5, 1, 6, 1, 7 – 32nd

Nacra 17
Nathan Outteridge/Haylee Outteridge – 5, 5, (13), 5, 8, 3, 7 Gold Fleet 1, 3, 5 – 1st
Jason Waterhouse/Lisa Darmanin – 5, 4, 3, (BFD), 4, 5, 5 Gold Fleet 2, 27, 14 – 6th
Paul Darmanin/Lucy Copeland – (20), 14, 5, 20, 5, 17, 20 Gold Fleet 12, 17 (29) – 25th
Conor Nicholas/Hayley Clark – 11, 31, 21, 27, (DNF), 7, 5 Silver Fleet BFD, 24 – 47th

Finn - completed
Jake Lilley – 20, 23, 6, 2, 15, 9 Gold Fleet (28), 3, 2, 28 – 16th
Oliver Tweddell – 11, 17, (24), 21, 24, 15 Gold Fleet (45), 21, 3, 14 – 28th
(Tom Slingsby) – 11, 18, 16, 17, 18, 21 Gold Fleet 13, 27, 26, (40) – 34th
Jock Calvert – (44), 24, 17, 26, 30, 25 Silver Fleet 1, 2, 2 – 48th
Lewis Brake – (34), 14, 23, 17, 30, 30 Silver Fleet 32, 6, 7 – 52nd

470M - completed
Mat Belcher/Will Ryan – 3, 13, 8, 4, 2, 4 Gold Fleet 1, 12, (14), 10 MR 8 – 5th
Chris Charlwood/Josh Dawson – 19, 12, 10, 20, 9, 16 Gold Fleet 12, 5, (26), 6 – 15th

470W - completed
Nia Jerwood/Monique de Vries – (35), 16, 14, 22, 29, 24, 14 – 25th
Dana Tavener/Katherine Shannon – 27, 41, 26, 40, 41, (46), 38 – 43rd

Australian Sailing

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