Australian sailors have made a statement at the site of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic regatta, with Jake Lilley and Matthew Wearn each claiming a silver medal amid powerful fleets and tricky conditions at Enoshima Olympic Week, which concluded on Sunday.
Wearn scored four top-five finishes from the seven Laser class races to claim second place behind Kiwi Tom Saunders, while teammate, Rio Olympic champion Tom Burton, finished fourth in the 54-boat fleet, which featured world, Olympic and European champions.
“It has been a very short but intense regatta here in Enoshima,” Wearn said. “The weather has been rather bad and the sailing conditions not ideal, but it’s great to do some form of event on the Olympic waters and, overall, I’m happy to come away with the silver medal.”
Olympic hopeful Luke Elliott sailed a consistent last five races to come 12th, while U21 Australian Champion Finn Alexander came 15th. Jeremy O’Connell (22nd) and Daniel Self (36th) rounded out the Australian Laser Squad’s contingent.
In a small but elite field in the Finns, America’s Cup sailor and Rio Olympian Lilley pushed Olympic gold medallist Giles Scott, of Great Britain, all the way, while teammate Oli Tweddell finished fifth in the eight-boat fleet.
“I’ve put in a bit of work since finishing up with the America’s Cup and it seems to be starting to pay dividends, though I expect more to come over the summer and next season,” Lilley said. “Coming second to Giles is not a bad way to kick off the Tokyo Olympic campaign but, of course, I have my sights set on passing the Brit come the conclusion of the Olympic journey.”
Australian Sailing’s only other representatives at the regatta, Nia Jerwood and Monique de Vries, finished 10th in a 16-boat 470W fleet.
– David Sygall/AST