Aussie sailor Wearn set for Olympic gold

Melissa WoodsAAP
Australian sailor Matt Wearn has an unassailable lead in the men's Laser class at the Tokyo Games.
Camera IconAustralian sailor Matt Wearn has an unassailable lead in the men's Laser class at the Tokyo Games. Credit: EPA

Matt Wearn has continued Australia's domination of the Olympic Laser class, taking an unassailable lead before the final medal race in Tokyo.

The 25-year-old sailor must simply complete the final course on Sunday without disqualification to secure a gold medal in his Olympic debut.

Australia has had a stranglehold on the event since London 2012, where Tom Slingsby clinched gold followed by Tom Burton in Rio five years ago.

Banking a 12th and eighth place in the ninth and 10th races late on Friday in the waters off Enoshima, Wearn extended his lead over his nearest rival Norwegian Hermann Tomasgaard to 22 net points.

With only 20 points on offer in the double-point 10-man medal race, it means he can't be caught.

Wearn, from Western Australia, said his winning position hadn't quite sunk in.

"I'm sure that once I get home and I'm in the solitude of my room, the emotions will come over me," he said.

"To be like this is and to be able to go out and enjoy the experience, I couldn't ask for more."

Wearn looked way off the pace early in competition, finishing 17th and 28th in the first two heats, but found his rhythm to place no lower than fourth, including two wins, across the next six rounds.

""There was that little bit of doubt. After race two on day two, I put myself in a pretty big deficit.

"These guys out here are amazing sailors and they're not going to relinquish the lead if they've got one.

"I knew I had to fight and that's what I did, and we've come out on top."

Meanwhile, Rio Olympics silver medallists Mat Belcher and Will Ryan are also on track for gold in the men's 470.

Belcher and Ryan remain at the top of the Tokyo leaderboard with six of 10 regular races completed, holding off Brits Luke Patience and Chris Grube.

The Australians landed fourth in race five at Zushi, and then backed up with a third in the sixth outing.

They lead the British duo by 11 net points with four regular rounds remaining.

"We've really tried to work at being good all-rounders - we're not the smallest in the fleet, so it's always a bit of a struggle when conditions get lighter, but today was really encouraging," Belcher said.

"We've got tomorrow off so we'll have a good rest, and we'll come out fighting and do what we're doing."

In the women's 470, Australia's Monique de Vries and Nia Jerwood are 15th after completing their fifth and sixth races.

Victorian brothers Sam and Will Phillips, teaming up in the skiff 49er, had a rough day at Kamakura.

They were disqualified in race eight for starting early and then finished 19th in the ninth race. Currently 11th, they have three more races to push into the top 10 again.

Australia's women's 49er FX team of Tess Lloyd and Jaime Ryan are in a similar scenario, in 14th spot.

Young Queenslander Mara Stransky won her first Olympic heat in the one-woman Laser Redial although missed out on qualifying for Sunday's medal race, finishing in 14th place overall.

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