TICKET TO TOKYO

Four years ago he was No.2 in the world in his sport and yet missed Olympic se­lec­tion. This week, re­demp­tion for Fre­man­tle sailor Matt Wearn, who has earned his ...

Cockburn Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - Matt Zis

MATTHEW Wearn is ready to live out his Olympic dream.

Last week, the Fre­man­tle Sail­ing Club mem­ber be­came one of the first three Aus­tralian athletes named for Tokyo 2020, where he will be Aus­tralia’s sole rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the men’s Laser Stan­dard Class.

It’s a far cry from 2016 ago when, at 20 years old and as the world No.2, Wearn missed se­lec­tion for Rio de Janeiro.

The choice that year – Tom Bur­ton – went on to claim Olympic gold, just as his pre­de­ces­sor Tom Slingsby did in 2012.

“Aus­tralian sail­ing teams have had such strong re­sults at the Olympic level, it’s a massive hon­our to have a chance to con­tinue that legacy,” Wearn said.

“Af­ter I got the call that I was se­lected, I just sat down in si­lence for a minute and let it soak in.

“The ex­cite­ment re­ally kicked in and I felt like jump­ing around the house. I’m so ex­cited to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia at an Olympics; to be rub­bing shoul­ders with in­cred­i­ble athletes that Aus­tralia will have in Tokyo across so many sports is crazy to think about. It doesn’t feel 100 per cent real yet; still feels like a bit of a dream.”

Wearn won the 2018 and 2019 Laser Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship ti­tles and was named WAIS Ath­lete of the Year and Aus­tralian Male Sailor of the Year in 2018.

His most re­cent suc­cess came last month with silver at the Hem­pel World Cup Se­ries in Enoshima, Ja­pan, which will host the Olympic sail­ing com­pe­ti­tion next year.

“I’m re­ally com­fort­able in the con­di­tions,” he said.

“Enoshima gets big swells, re­ally sim­i­lar to when we train off Syd­ney heads af­ter a few days of souther­lies. Some­times the wind comes off the land in Enoshima, which makes con­di­tions shifty and quite hot, which we can recre­ate when­ever there’s a hot west­erly in Syd­ney.

“It gives the team great con­fi­dence to be able to train and recre­ate those con­di­tions at home.”

Fre­man­tle Sail­ing Club head coach Thor Schoen­hoff said they were proud of Wearn’s se­lec­tion, which he de­scribed as a dream re­alised by many peo­ple at the club who had sup­ported him.

Pic­ture: Steve Fer­rier

Matthew Wearn has been se­lected to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia at Tokyo 2020.

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