The World Sailing Council approved the International Laser Class Association’s bid to be retained as equipment for the 2024 Paris Olympics, with 30 voting in favor, 0 against and 0 abstaining.
In May 2019, the World Sailing Council approved the re-selection of the Laser class for both Men’s and Women’s single handed equipment, but on condition of meeting WS contractual conditions including the adoption of a FRAND licensing policy for builders. A deadline of 1 August was set for concluding contract discussions.
ILCA signed the required Olympic Classes Contract by this deadline and submitted additional information and clarification about the arrangements for the Class as requested by World Sailing.
On behalf of ILCA, President Tracy Usher “wishes to thank World Sailing for reaffirming its decision of last May. ILCA would also like to thank its builders, the World Council and the countless volunteers who worked hard over the Summer to create a plan to comply with World Sailing’s Olympic Equipment Policy and to classs members for voting to affirm a major piece of this plan which allowed us to submit the proper documentation by the deadline.
We look forward to the implementation of this plan as we look forward to the Paris Olympics in 2024!”
Reigning Men’s 470 World Champions Mat Belcher and Will Ryan and back-to-back Laser European Champion Matt Wearn have today been announced as the first athletes selected to the Tokyo 2020 Australian Olympic Team.
Belcher and Ryan have been rewarded for their stunning 2019 season, which has seen them bank five successive international victories.
Last month they secured back-to-back wins at the Olympic Test Event and World Cup Series on the waters of Enoshima, the same track they will be racing around at the Games in ten months’ time.
For Belcher this will be his third Olympics, his second with Ryan as crew.
“It’s amazing to be the first athletes selected for Tokyo 2020,” Belcher said. “To go to even one Olympics is so special, to get a chance at a third Games is an incredible feeling.
“Now selection is secured the focus is firmly on the Olympics and doing everything we can to be at our best in July.”
Belcher and Ryan also secured their fifth 470 class World Championship together in Japan last month. The pairing is primed to go one better than the Silver they took home from Rio in 2016.
“Last time around we were second, and it felt like we just missed a few of those last little bits,” said Ryan on Friday. “We are really honoured and excited that we have the opportunity to go again and we’ll be giving it our all to get on that top spot.”
World number one ranked Laser sailor Wearn will be making his Olympic debut in Tokyo, winning selection after consistently strong results over the last two seasons.
This included wins at the European Championships and Olympic Week in Hyeres, as well as second places at the Laser World Championships and the World Cup Series in Enoshima.
“I’m just ecstatic with the selection,” said Wearn. “I am really excited to be able to go and compete for Australia.”
Wearn will continue a fine tradition of success for Australia in the Laser class, which includes Gold at both the London and Rio Olympics.
The Western Australian sailor will be well prepared for the conditions he expects face in Enoshima next year.
“Enoshima can have quite a big swell with bigger waves, which is similar to sailing off Sydney heads. The wind tends to come off the land there, which makes conditions shifty and quite hot. We can recreate those conditions whenever there’s a hot westerly in Sydney, so it gives us confidence to be able to train in similar conditions at home.”
Australian Sailing President Matt Allen AM highlighted the depth of the Australian Sailing Team when he spoke shortly before the announcement.
“Australian Sailing has a proud history of success at the Olympics, and this group is no different,” Allen said. “We have won six gold medals at the past three games, and we head to Tokyo with three classes currently ranked in the top three in the world including two top seeds.”
Australian Sailing’s High Performance Director Iain Murray AM also paid tribute to reigning Olympic Laser champion Tom Burton, who missed out on selection this time round.
“Australia is extremely fortunate to have the world’s top two ranked Laser sailors amongst our fleet, but unfortunately Olympic rules state that we can only send one athlete per class,” said Murray. “Most countries would have given anything to select either athlete, so this was a particularly tough decision for the panel to have to make.”
The decision to nominate Wearn was made by Australian Sailing’s Olympic Nomination Panel. This highly qualified panel of eight includes Chairman David Kellett AM, Murray, three-time Laser World Champion Glenn Bourke and five-time Laser World Champion and London gold medallist Tom Slingsby.
Australian Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020 Ian Chesterman said today’s announcement is a great milestone for the Australian Olympic Team.
“It is wonderful to have three such high calibre athletes named today, the first of what we expect will be a team of around 480 athletes representing Australia in Tokyo,” Chesterman said. “Each has an amazing record in their sport and can now focus on their preparations for the Olympic Games next year.”
“Congratulations not only to the athletes on their selection, but their coaches, teammates, Australian Sailing, the Australian Institute of Sport and state institutes, families and supporters who have helped them become the athletes they are today.”
Enoshima is a special place for the sport of sailing in Australia. The venue for the 2020 Games is the same harbour that Bill Northam and the crew of the Barranjoey won Australia’s first ever sailing Olympic Gold on in 1964.
The latest crop of Olympians will be hoping to recreate those efforts, and continue Australia’s fine record of success in Olympic sailing.
(Double Bay, Australia) Last weekend marked the second annual Women’s Laser Regatta in Australia, hosted by Double Bay Sailing Club and raced on Sydney Harbour. The intention of this regatta is to encourage greater female participation in the Laser class.
The event was coached by high-profile sailors, including triple Olympian Karyn Gojnich, double Olympian Krystal Weir, and Katie Spithill—a multiple international and national Women’s Match Racing champion from youth to adulthood. Spithill also finished second overall in the 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart as tactician on Wild Oats X.
In only its second year, co-organizer Christine Patton commented, “We were over-subscribed this year. When we started the event last year, we couldn’t have guessed how popular it would become so quickly.”
Australia is the place to be in the Southern Hemisphere summer of 2020. Laser racing will dominate the calendar in the state of Victoria during Australia’s summer with seven major Laser regattas on the calendar and many sailors expected to line up in more than one event.
The busy three months kicks off on January 1, 2020, when the Australian Laser Championships will be held at Sandringham Yacht Club. The championships cover all rigs and organizers have already received 140 entries.
Voting is now open for a VERY important ILCA Class Rule change. Voting is open from 1 July to 31 July 2019.To secure the future of our class and provide certainty to World Sailing that we can meet their new Olympic Classes requirements, the ILCA World Council seeks your support by voting “YES” to approve an important class rule change: to remove the requirement for Builders to be licensed by Laser trademark owners.
In a vote of the ILCA World Council, this rule change was overwhelmingly approved by an 11 to 2 margin, including the unanimous approval of all six ILCA Regional Chairmen.
The class now needs your support!
Your vote “YES” will: 1) Make sure that our class will remain in the Olympics. 2) Ensure that class-legal equipment is available in ALL parts of the world. 3) Give control of our class to the sailors, not the commercial parties.
To be counted you must vote by 31 July 2019.In order to secure the future of our class, please take a moment to click the link below and vote “YES” now in a quick, 1-question online survey.