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So how do you get to the Olympics?

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-World AUS 25 Feb 06:55 UTC
Matt Wearn (Laser). Australian Sailing Team competing at Ready Steady Tokyo (Olympic Test Event) in Enoshima, Japan. © Beau Outteridge

Early in 2019, the Australian Sailing Team (AST) completed the task of defining the path to the Olympics. This was marked by the creation of specific documentation regarding what benchmarks it would take to be nominated, and then each athlete wishing to take part signing up to said process.

First and foremost, it has to be spelled out clearly that it is the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) that selects the sailors who will be on their way to Tokyo in 2020. The role of Australian Sailing (AS) is to specifically stipulate what grounds are seen as suitable for nomination, offer pathways to appeal, and create the very panel that puts forward the sailors for selection.

The AST's Director of High Performance, Iain Murray, stated, "The coaches and athletes discussed what their baseline events would be, and then the level of results required at them. It is then agreed to by all parties, and subsequently ratified by the Board (of AS)."

"In addition to baseline qualification, the documentation covers rules, processes, and also whether the sailor can go into subjective nomination. The detailed documentation is all open and transparent to the parties covered therein, and it also covered off the Nomination Panel, dispute resolution and the roles of AS and the AOC. It is a stand-alone contract with all athletes who want to participate."

The members of the Nomination Panel are impressive individuals. Collectively they have over 20 World Championships, numerous Olympic Gold Medals, attended multiple Olympiads, possess a diverse and deep range of sailing experience, as well as bringing alternative views from other Olympic sports.

"Some of the athletes wanted early selection by the AOC. The Laser Standard is finished, as too the Men's 470. There are five tranches between now and March 2020. The team will be released as the key events appear and pass on that timeline. So that means Women's 470 Worlds, Nacra, Finn and then finishing with the 9ers in Geelong," said Murray in closing.

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