Chas­ing Olympic dream

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Fit For Business - By JES­SICA NICO

ZOE Thom­son has a dream to make the Aus­tralian Olympic sail­ing team for the 2020 Tokyo games.

It is a dream that is within reach for the 19-year-old Fre­man­tle res­i­dent and cur­rent youth laser ra­dial world cham­pion, but she still has a lot of work to do to achieve it.

Start­ing sail­ing when she was just eight years old at the East Fre­man­tle Yacht Club, Thom­son now spreads her 15-20 hours a week of train­ing and rac­ing be­tween the Royal Fresh­wa­ter Bay Yacht Club, Fre­man­tle Sail­ing Club and Syd­ney as she pre­pares to com­pete for Aus­tralia in four in­ter­na­tional re­gat­tas in Den­mark, Bel­gium, The Nether­lands and Ja­pan.

“I en­joy sail­ing purely be­cause it is such a unique sport, with such vari­able con­di­tions,” she said. “It re­ally tests ev­ery as­pect of a per­son or ath­lete and is far more com­plex then I would have ever imag­ined.

“I am very lucky to be from Fre­man­tle as we have amaz­ing sail­ing con­di­tions with the Freo Doc­tor, which al­lows high-qual­ity train­ing.

“I also have monthly camps at the na­tional train­ing cen­tre in Syd­ney and reg­u­lar trips over­seas to get ex­po­sure to high-den­sity fleets in Europe.”

Hav­ing aged out of the youth com­pe­ti­tion, she said com­pet­ing in Au­gust’s Laser Ra­dial World Cham­pi­onship for the first time against sea­soned Olympians was “a big step up”.

“Lin­ing up against medal­lists from the past few Olympics is fairly daunt­ing but be­ing my first year in open events, it is ex­cit­ing to learn from and race against peo­ple that I have looked up to for such a long time,” she said.

“Watch­ing Rio 2016 last year was so in­spir­ing and I some­day hope to be on the same stage rep­re­sent­ing my coun­try and win­ning a medal.

“The Olympics are the pin­na­cle of achieve­ment in my sport and hav­ing had a taste of suc­cess at the youth level has just made me even keener to be the very best.”

Thom­son said her Aus­tralian sail­ing cam­paign costs her as much as $35,000 a year and while it was mostly cov­ered, the Aus­tralian Sports Foun­da­tion has got­ten on board to help her raise the dif­fer­ence.

The fundrais­ing cam­paign will help her cover travel, equip­ment and ac­com­mo­da­tion costs, and donations are tax de­ductible.

Visit www.asf.org.au/ath­letes/zoe-thom­son to do­nate or www.zoethom­son­sail­ing.com to keep up to date with the sailor’s progress.

Zoe Thom­son in ac­tion.

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