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Wearn's long wait for Olympic debut

by AAP, Murray Wenzel 10 May 14:53 BST
Matt Wearn (Laser). Australian Sailing Team competing at Ready Steady Tokyo (Olympic Test Event) in Enoshima, Japan. © Beau Outteridge

As one of the first Australians picked to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, Matt Wearn's wait for his Games debut will feel longer than most.

Selected last September, the reigning back-to-back European Laser class champion felt well positioned to win Australia's third-straight Olympic gold in the Laser category.

He said Tokyo's 12-month postponement due to coronavirus initially felt like "everything had been thrown out the window".

But with new dates set and his position secured the 24-year-old said he's now at peace with the changes, which have given him a chance to tweak the "one-percenters" that could prove crucial in Enoshima Harbour next year.

"We were pretty confident in what we had planned, ready to go, so for it to be thrown out the window was hard to deal with," he said. "When it was still up in the air if you'd have to re-qualify there was a bit of a lack of motivation... but once they announced the new dates and that the selections would stand that disappeared quickly."

Perth-based Wearn, who chose sailing over a potential AFL career as a teenager, hasn't been in a boat for almost a month.

Instead he's been clocking up extra time on his bike during what is usually peak regatta season in Europe as he hopes to emulate the Laser success of Olympic champions Tom Burton (2016) and Tom Slingsby (2012).

Wearn had planned to be sailing in southern France in late April with Belgian girlfriend and fellow sailing world champion Emma Plasschaert.

"The day before I was meant to leave (in early March) I had to make a decision and it turned out to be the right one because I would've had to come home a week later," he said. "I just didn't expect it to be a six-to-eight month thing."

Competition could resume in Europe by September, however, Wearn anticipates travel restrictions could confine him to races closer to home until early next year.

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