Olympics-Sailing-Wearn strikes sailing gold for Australia


Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Sailing - Mixed Nacra 17 - Opening Series - Enoshima Yacht Harbour - Tokyo, Japan - August 1, 2021. Ruggero Tita of Italy and Caterina Banti of Italy in action. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

ENOSHIMA, Japan (Reuters) -Australia's Matt Wearn cruised to an easy victory in the men's Laser class at the Enoshima Yachting Harbour on Sunday, making the most of the big lead he built up in the opening races to take the gold.

Croatia's Tonci Stipanovic took the silver medal, with Hermann Tomasgaard of Norway picking up the bronze.

Wearn hit a sweet spot during the 10 opening series races that decided the 10 boats that would contest the medal race, notching two wins and three second-placed finishes to go into the medal race with an unassailable lead.

With the pressure off, the 25-year-old Wearn came second in the medal race to top the overall standings after a superb Olympic campaign on 53 points, with Stipanovic a distant second on 82 and Tomasgaard three points further back.

"The goal was just to go out and have a clean start and be able to race from there. To be able to do that and just enjoy the race was awesome," he told reporters.

"It was a great experience - nice wind, good waves. When the wind's like this the sport is just amazing and you really start to enjoy it."

The women's Laser Radial medal race is due to take place later on Sunday.

The Italian pairing of Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti head into Tuesday's medal race in the Nacra mixed class guaranteed a medal after another strong showing.

Tita and Banti racked up four wins and four second-placed finishes in the 12 opening series races to top the overall standings ahead of the medal race, 12 points clear of the British pair of John Gimson and Anna Burnet, but they are not taking anything for granted.

"In racing, regattas are regattas so you never expect anything, but for sure we are confident in the job we have done the last five years, we have done what we trained for," Tita told reporters.

The Nacra class takes place over an opening series of 12 races to decide the 10 crews that will contest the final, and the medal race itself, with scores carried forward from the opening series. The team with the lowest combined score wins the competition.

The Italians have 23 points, with the British team, who are also guaranteed a medal, on 35. The German team of Paul Kolhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer (47 points) are in third, with Australia's Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (54 points) fourth.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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