Mathew Belcher Will Ryan Sailing Australia Tokyo 2020

Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan have won gold in the 470 Men race at Tokyo 2020. (Photo: Sailing Energy/World Sailing Official/AUS Olympic Team - Twitter)

After silver at Rio 2016, sailing pair Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan have won gold at Tokyo 2020 in the Men's 470 class.

Australian sailing pair Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan have had their gold medal confirmed in the Men’s 470 class. For all your Tokyo 2020 coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.

In their second Olympic Games as a team competing in the Men’s 470 class, helm Belcher and crew Ryan have won Australia’s second sailing gold medal of Tokyo 2020, after Matt Wearn in the Men’s Laser.

The sailing duo previously competed together in the same event at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games where they finished second overall and claimed a silver medal.

Though, at this year’s Olympic Games, Belcher and Ryan have performed better and earned an even greater result – gold.

While this is Ryan’s first Olympic gold, Belcher has added to his London 2012 gold medal in the Men’s 470 class which he received alongside Malcolm Page.

The team have been paired together since 2013 where they entered the World Championships, a partnership that would extend to six appearances in the 470 competition. Those six appearances have culminated in five gold medals (2013-2015, 2017, 2019) and one bronze medal (2016). Belcher had also won consecutive gold medals with Page from 2010-2012.

Mathew Belcher and Will Ryan compete in the Men’s 470 class at Rio 2016. (Photo: Australian Olympic Committee)

Currently ranked 16th in the world, Belcher and Ryan were guaranteed a gold medal at the conclusion of the tenth leg of the Men’s 470 class.

In an event where the finishing position determines a total of race points and the worst result is eliminated – which for the Australians was an eighth-placed finish from Race 10 -, the pair went into the Medal Race with 21 net points, 20 points clear of second-placed Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom of Sweden.

The 20-point lead meant Belcher and Ryan were guaranteed gold in a race of 10 competitors, taking into consideration Medal Race points double in the final leg. The sailors needed only to not receive any penalties through false starts or disqualification, and more simply, finish the race.

Of 11 races, the Australians finished first in three legs – Race 3, Race 4 and Race 8 -, which included crossing the finish line 23 seconds in front of Great Britain’s Luke Patience and Chris Grube in Race 3. In Race 1, Race 7 and Race 9, the pair finished second and achieved a top-three performance in Race 6 also, indicating they were almost always up in the higher echelons of the event.

In the Medal Race, the Australian duo was the last to cross the starting line, eliminating any risk of a disqualification for a false start. They didn’t just take a leisurely sail around Ennoshita Yacht Harbour, from the first mark the Australian’s looked to take the lead and by the second they were in front, maintaining the lead until the very end.

More Tokyo 2020 News

Tokyo 2020: Daily Recap – Tuesday August 3

Tokyo 2020: Australian Recap – Tuesday August 3

Tokyo 2020: Athletics Recap – Tuesday August 3

Belcher who hails from the Gold Coast first represented Australia at the 1998/99 420 World Championships in Athens, Greece and has been a member of the Australian Sailing Team since 2001.

His teammate, Coal Point local Ryan first represented Australia at the 420 World Championships in 2006 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Canary Islands and joined the Australian Sailing Team in 2012.

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