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Mat Belcher looking ahead to Tokyo Olympics

by Andrew Bryan 16 Nov 2018 10:58 GMT
Mat Belcher at Southport Yacht Club Hollywell, where he first learned to sail and now runs kid programs © Cavan Flynn

It's been 17 years since Mathew Belcher enrolled at Bond University. Since then he's picked up two degrees, an Olympic gold and silver medal, nine world championships and had three children.

Last month, he finally graduated.

It's been quite the journey for the Gold Coast local who is the most successful Olympic class helm sailor in Australian history.

Belcher celebrated the birth of his third child, Zoe, last week and is ramping up his preparations for one more Olympic campaign at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

"I'm pretty stoked to finally have the degree done. My time at Bond has been pretty substantial," said Belcher.

"It has taken six years to finish my masters of valuation and property development and masters of project management, and before that I did a bachelor of commerce, majoring in accounting which was 2001 to 2009.

"It wouldn't have been possible to complete the degree without the flexibility of Bond.

"The lecturers have been great and I've built really good relationships with them and they have been really supportive."

Belcher, who is part of the Bond Elite Sport Program, will head to Japan for a five-day training camp on Saturday and has been heavily campaigning for the Tokyo Games.

The 36-year-old and teammate Will Ryan claimed silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics, but are both driven to go one better. They believe they can do it.

"We had a really good run coming into Rio, we had won three of the world championships and finished third in the other one. That last six months before the Games we struggled to get any rhythm.

"We were super proud of the Olympic silver medal, but we both came away knowing we had some stuff that could have improved.

"It is a different campaign this time, we have more support with international training partners and have taken a different approach, so time will tell.

"Hopefully we can learn from some mistakes and improve at Tokyo.

"We were super proud of the silver, but we wouldn't have continued had we not thought we could do better as a team, thankful that we both have the commitment and the drive, because four years is a lot of time and training, a lot of risk and a lot of money as well.

"It's a big commitment, not just from us, but our families too."