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Olympic Test Event outcomes put Aussies on track for Tokyo 2020

by David Sygall 17 Sep 05:43 BST 9-16 September 2018
Matt Wearn - Olympic Test Event at Enoshima © Sailing Energy-World Sailing

The Australian Sailing Team has left the first official Olympic Test Event at Enoshima in Japan with encouraging results, headed by a gold medal in the Nacra 17 class and silver medals in the 470M and Laser.

Following the stirring victory by reigning Olympic silver medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin in the Nacra on Saturday, Laser sailor Matt Wearn produced a fine medal race finale on Sunday to surge into 2nd overall, putting the cherry on top of an outstanding northern hemisphere campaign which included claiming the World Championship silver medal in Denmark last month and the Laser European Championship crown in May.

Australia's world No.1 ranked 470 duo Mat Belcher and Will Ryan did not get to contest the double points medal race due to the fading breeze, leaving them in 2nd place and on the podium.

Elsewhere, Australians filled top 10 spots in the 49erFX through Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot, and in the Finn class where Jake Lilley came 9th.

Wearn said he felt pleased to have finished off the regatta strongly after a challenging week of sailing.

"I think I'm more excited about sailing a race rather well, it's been a bit of a struggle this week. To finish off with a 2nd in the medal race to clinch 2nd overall - you can't complain about that," he said.

"Olympic Test Event on Olympic waters - I know it's not exactly the right time of year - but it feels good to get a medal. I kind of proved to myself and everyone else that I've got what it takes come 2020."

Ryan echoed Wearn's appreciation for the experience of racing at the Olympic venue.

"I guess I'm a competitive person, so I always want to win," Belcher's crew said.

"But, in all honesty, we were pretty lucky to have quite unique conditions this week and we improved through the week - the ultimate goal is Tokyo 2020.

"It's the end of the season, it's a good result for us to cap this one off and it's given us a good platform to go forwards."

Ryan said the result would add to the motivation the pair felt after finishing 5th at the World Championships in Denmark.

"We're half way through this Olympic campaign towards Tokyo and I think we're in a good spot," he said.

"We know what we want to do and what we want to improve upon. Ultimately that's all you can ask for at this point.

"We're feeling more at home here. We've been quite a few times. The people are lovely, the food's interesting but we're getting used to it, the weather's quite a big mix between winter and summer, but that's part of the package and we're learning to enjoy it."

Australian Overall Results:

Mat Belcher/Will Ryan - 3, (15), 5, 1, 11, 5, 5, 10 - 2nd
Chris Charlwood/Josh Dawson - (RET), 5, 13, 13, 13, 28, 18, 29 - 21st

Nia Jerwood/Monique de Vries - 7, 11, 9, 16, 13, 7, (20), 17 - 14th

Nacra 17:
Jason Waterhouse/Lisa Darmanin - 6, 5, 3, 5, 3, 2, (8), 1, 7 MR 2 - 1st
Nathan Outteridge/Haylee Outteridge - 8, 9, 6, 6, 4, 1, 1, 4, (14) MR 6 - 4th

Natasha Bryant/Annie Wilmot - 16, 4, (17), 11, 13, 6, 13 MR 10 - 9th

David Gilmour/Lachy Gilmour - 5, (25), 10, 12, 20, 15, 25, 24, 1 - 19th

Jake Lilley - (18), 14, 6, 5, 1, 9, 10, 13, 15 - 9th

Laser Radial:
Elyse Ainsworth - 35, 36, 36, 21, 35, (38), 3 - 32nd
Zoe Thomson - 37, 31, 35, 43, 19, (50), 9 - 33rd

Matt Wearn - 3, 12, 25, 4, 19, 5, 6, 19, (27) MR 4 - 2nd
Tom Burton - 19, 8, 24, (UFD), BFD, 12, 10, 34, 7 - 20th

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