Queenslander Jake Lilley has been announced as Australia’s representative in the Finn class for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, rounding out the sailing selection for the Games.
Lilley completes a team blessed with a mix of youth, experience, and a history of success. Australia’s sailors will head to Japan carrying the hopes of a nation after collecting six gold medals across the past three Olympics.
“It’s always a good feeling to be honored with the opportunity to represent our country and our sport,” said Lilley at the announcement.
The Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron sailor finished eighth at his first Olympic Games five years ago in Rio de Janeiro.
There were gradual improvements in the years that followed, but it was his win in the medal race on the way to finishing fifth at the 2019 Gold Cup held at Royal Brighton Yacht Squadron in Melbourne that had him set to take on the world in Tokyo the following year.
“When I qualified at the Worlds in the end of 2019 it was an incredible feeling,” said Lilley. “A home World Championship with my fiancé, family, coach, my very first coach and a heap of supporters had me in tears on the beach after winning the medal race. That was an incredible moment, memorable for the rest of my life.”
Australian Sailing Director – Tokyo 2020 Olympic Campaign, Iain Murray, praised Jake’s progression at the announcement.
“Jake has become a leader within our team over the past four years, and we are incredibly proud of him and what he has already achieved,” said Murray. “Nobody has worked harder than Jake and his selection today is a testament to that work.”
Australian Olympic Committee Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman congratulated Jake on making his second Olympic Team.
“To make it to back-to-back Olympics is a remarkable achievement,” Mr Chesterman said. “It shows a remarkable commitment to your sport and I am sure that Jake will take many of his lessons from Rio and apply them to Tokyo and a real benefit at his second Olympics.
“I wish him the very best over the final months of preparation and look forward to welcoming him to Tokyo in 93 days’ time.
“While Jake is competing in Europe, this is also a day to celebrate for his family, coaches, friends and supporters back home in Australia, as well as all of those at Australian Sailing, who have helped Jake become the sailor he is today.”
Lilley was riding a wave of good form when the Games were postponed, but he has spent the additional time fine-tuning his race speed and tactics on home waters.
“We’ve worked quietly but earnestly back in Australia for over a year now,” said Lilley. “Between myself, coach Rafa Trujillo and Aussie Finn Legend and training partner Anthony Nossiter we are confident with the work we’ve put in.”
Australian Sailing President, Daniel Belcher, commended the make-up of the team after the final selection.
“We are ecstatic to have Jake round out a team that will leave our shores ready to do the nation proud,” said Belcher. “They have been expertly led and prepared by Iain Murray and the Australian Sailing Team’s extended group of coaches and support staff. There is a fantastic balance of youth and experience, and we can’t wait to see what they do when the first starting gun fires on July 25.”
Jake will be competing at the 2021 Finn Gold Cup in Porto, Portugal from 5-12 May, you can follow his progress here.
The Opening Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics is scheduled for Friday 23 July, with sailing to commence on Sunday 25 July.
Australian Sailing acknowledges the contribution made by those who contributed to Jake’s development, including friends, family, the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, Queensland Academy of Sport and the Australian Institute of Sport.
Australian Olympic Sailing Selection – Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
470 (Men’s) – Mat Belcher (QLD) and Will Ryan (NSW)
470 (Women’s) – Nia Jerwood and Monique de Vries (WA)
49er – Will Phillips and Sam Phillips (VIC)
49erFX – Tess Lloyd (VIC) and Jaime Ryan (NSW)
Finn – Jake Lilley (QLD)
Laser – Matt Wearn (WA)
Laser Radial – Mara Stransky (QLD)
Nacra 17 – Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (NSW)