The competitive camaraderie between two of Australia’s finest sailors will reach another peak tonight when Rio Olympic Gold medalist Tom Burton and recent World No.1 Matthew Wearn battle out the final stages of the 2017 Laser World Championship at Split in Croatia.
The pair are in pursuit of Cyprus national hero Pavlos Kontides, whose Silver medal at the 2012 Olympic Games in London was the first medal ever won by his nation.
After 10 Races at the prestigious World Championship, Burton is in second place on 30 points and Wearn is third on 31 points. The Australians’ form indicates they are ready to pounce on any mistake by Kontides, who holds a 15 point advantage. The final two Races of the regatta are scheduled for tonight, Australian time.
Burton captured the ultimate prize in Rio last year with a come-from-behind win over Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic. However, Burton only narrowly secured Australia’s one Olympic position in the Laser Class ahead of Wearn, who last month won the 2018 World Championship Test Event at Aarhus in Denmark, in front of second-placed Burton.
“Even though just one guy can go to the Olympics at the end of the four years, I think they all get some pride in making a competitive environment that helps that guy do well,” Australian Sailing Team Laser coach Michael Blackburn said.
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