WA sailors Monique de Vries and Nia Jerwood named to compete for Australia at 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games

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Steve ButlerThe West Australian
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Monique De Vries (left) and Nia Jerwood will compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in women's 470 sailing.
Camera IconMonique De Vries (left) and Nia Jerwood will compete at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in women's 470 sailing. Credit: Brook Mitchell/Getty Images

The long wait for star WA sailors Monique de Vries and Nia Jerwood to have their Olympic debut confirmed is over.

The reigning Australian Female Sailors of the Year have been named to compete in the 470 pairs at the Tokyo Games in July. Coached in Fremantle by the category’s 2000 Sydney Olympics gold medallist Belinda Stowell-Brett, they are the first athletes confirmed for the Australian team in 2021.

Along with champion WA sailor Matt Wearne, they are now among the 80 athletes to have been selected of what is expected to be a travelling team of about 480. It is the forst time the WA Institute of Sport has provided three sailors to an Australian Olympic team.

The selection ends a difficult recent journey for de Vries and Jerwood, who last March were on the water in Spain’s world sailing hotspot of Palma de Mallorca when the world championships were suddenly cancelled because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

But they had already qualified Australia’s 470 spot and have now received their dream reward.

“We’ve been working towards this for a really long time, so it is just so special to have all of our hard work pay off in being selected,” de Vries said this week. “It’s really special to now be part of Australia’s Olympic heritage in sailing. Nia and I have had so many great influences from the team over the years, it’s just an honour to now join that.”

Jerwood said waiting for the selection had triggered a “roller-coaster of emotions”, but also provided more time to prepare for the racing of their lives.

“We’ve also used the last year as preparation, working on our weaknesses to become more well-rounded athletes,” she said. “We know we’ve gotten faster, our technique and speed have improved and we’re ready to put in our best performance in Tokyo.”

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