Australia’s Paralympic Sailors have been welcomed home from Rio on Thursday by the sailing community at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. Amongst those celebrating the most successful Paralympic Sailing Team were several sailing and sporting icons, including Olympic Gold Medallist Tom Burton and Olympic Silver Medallist, Lisa Darmanin.
Australia’s Paralympic sailors bagged three medals across the three Paralympic classes, including two Gold and a Silver. Daniel Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch became the first Paralympic sailors across the globe to defend their Olympic title, taking Gold in the SKUD18 class, while Colin Harrison, Russel Boaden and Jonathan Harris also won Gold in the Sonar Class. Tasmanian Matt Bugg took the Silver medal in the 2.4mR event.
“This has been the most successful Paralympic sailing team ever,” said Matt Allen, President of Australian Sailing. “To medal in every class is a real achievement and we’re extremely proud of this hard-working, talented group of sailors and the wider team who have supported them.”
The Paralympic success comes on the back of sailing’s successful Olympic campaign where Australia won a Gold and three Silver medals in Rio.
“We really benefited from the success of our Olympic team,” said Paralympian Liesl Tesch. “The knowledge and insights they were able to provide us really helped us in Rio. The entire Australian Sailing Team is an amazing unit that works together well and are deserved of the success we’ve all shared.”
Looking at the combined results, Australia’s sailors brought home a total of seven medals - three Gold medals and four Silver medals across the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the most medals ever bagged by sailing. Prior to this Australia had won a combined five medals in London and five medals in Sydney.
“Great results across both the Olympic and Paralympic Games are testament to the program we have in place to identify, grow and support sailing talent,” said Matt Carroll, CEO of Australian Sailing. “Our program has been developed and refined over several years now, and we’re happy that we are seeing the results of our carefully planned program.”