Wearn wins Medal Race to take Silver at Princess Sofia Trophy
Main photo: Matt Wearn gives the thumbs up after winning the ILCA 7 Medal Race. Photo Sailing Energy – Princess Sofia Trophy
An extremely determined Australian Sailing Team athlete, Matt Wearn OAM, was at his best in the ILCA 7 Medal Race at the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma on Saturday local time, showing the same grit that won him Gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games last year.
The West Australian athlete started on the back foot in Palma, two breakages on Day 1 left him in 122nd place overall. Few could come back from that and lift to third place overall, to go on and win the Medal Race to claim the silver medal. It was an extraordinary performance by any measure.
Wearn achieved Silver on one of the most difficult days of sailing this week. A predominantly 10 to 11 knot offshore breeze from the mountain was beset by lulls of 5 knots and gusts of 20 and 40-degree shifts. He picked the shifts well to lead the race from halfway up the first leg after an even start.
“It was very tricky sailing. We don’t normally do a downwind finish either, but it made the day exciting,” the 26-year-old acknowledged.
On how he came back against all odds to win Silver, Wearn said, “It was the motivation not to lose. Regardless of the position I’m in, I always go out to win. I came to Palma for one thing and one thing only.
“I rely on my processes when things are bad. I’ve done so much work over the last 10 years. Just keep competing and re-start again each time.”
Wearn had this advice for those who find themselves in a similar situation: “You have to make little goals for yourself. Like get into the Gold fleet, then make the Medal Race and once there, lets win a medal.
“Take little steps and believe in the ability you have. You can do anything if you want to. I took this lesson from the Tokyo Games; how to come back from adversity and never give up,” he recalled of recovering from a disastrous start in Tokyo to winning Gold.
Australian Sailing Squad athlete, Elyse Ainsworth, went into the ILCA 6 Medal Race with nothing to lose. The gold medal was decided yesterday. Silver and Bronze were also spoken for, only the order had to be decided between Great Britain and Greece.
This is the first time the 23-year-old has made a Medal Race in Olympic classes competition. She started well and maintained fourth place for most of it and finished in that position.
Buoyed and pushed by her three Australian team mates the whole way through the regatta, the Fremantle Sailing Club athlete said, “They wished me good luck before I went on the water.
“I also received some good sailing advice from Blackers (Michael Blackburn, the Australian Sailing Team’s Technical Director) and Swifto (Luke Elliott, who competed in the ILCA 7). It wasn’t the advice I expected, but it was very good advice, from their own experiences.
“I had absolutely nothing to lose so I went out and enjoyed myself. It was hard in the respect that the racing was so close. You have the jury following you around, so you’re not sure how hard to push it.”
Ainsworth is pleased with her result: “I was consistent this week and that’s a pretty good turning point for me. I sailed well against the best in the Medal Race. I am very excited for this year and what it holds. This week has given me confidence.”
Before heading to Hyeres in a week’s time, both Wearn and Ainsworth will attend a cycling camp and relax. Ainsworth also plans to do some uni work towards her degree in Exercise and Health.
Many of the team will move on to Hyeres for the French Olympic Week regatta, which will take place from 23-30 April on the Mediterranean coast.
Follow the regatta, including full results at: https://www.trofeoprincesasofia.org/en/
By Di Pearson
Australian Sailing Team media