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Aussie Sailors Secure Bronze in Sailing World Champs

From AAP

Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine have clinched bronze at the world championship, delivering a best-ever performance at the event by Australian sailors in the 49erFX.

Australia’s Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (r) celebrate their bronze medal at the sailing worlds. Image by EPA PHOTO

The record-breaking effort of the Sydney-based team at The Hague secured Australia a berth in the class at next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.

“I don’t think we could have imagined this,” said Price after race management cancelled their Medal Race due to a lack of breeze.

“We’re pretty happy to come away with a podium finish here at the world championships,” added Haseldine.

“It was a tough week of racing, but it has shown what we are capable of and that we can mix it up with the top of the fleet.”

Price said them sailing together was “a really cool story.”

“Our dads used to sail together in the 16ft Skiffs at Drummoyne Sailing Club, so I have known Evie since she was born.

“We’re 11 years apart, but Evie approached me late in 2021 to be her mentor. She sounded like she had the exact right attitude, and the timing was right for me to start loving sailing again.

“The two of us teamed up after stepping into the boat once and it felt natural, so to have this evolution 18 months later is pretty cool.”

Th only race run on the day was the men’s skiff medal race.

With no racing in the women’s formula kite class, Queenslander Breiana Whitehead fell agonisingly short of the top-10 medal series, finishing 11th.

“I really would have liked to step up a place or two but it wasn’t to be,” said Whitehead.

But there was a silver lining as Australia secured a Paris Games women’s kite nation quota with Whitehead finishing as the fifth-highest unique nation, with France already qualifying as hosts.

With no racing in the men’s iQFOiL, Woollahra Sailing Club’s Grae Morris  qualified for the top-10 medal series in fourth. This also earned Australia a spot in the category for Paris.

The ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 classes will look to complete their final two Gold fleet races tomorrow before Sunday’s medal race, with Tokyo Olympic champion Matt Wearn sitting second.

“In the case of this year’s world’s missing racing today has been welcomed by most,” said Wearn.

“It has been a tough week so far so it’s a good chance to rest up. On the other hand, it’s sometimes difficult to stop and get going again the next day at this stage of an event, so it will be important to keep moving.”

Australia’s high performance director Iain Brambell was pleased with the team’s performance.

“It was fantastic to see Olivia and Evie’s impressive regatta reward this afternoon with a well-earned podium performance… The team’s grit and determination throughout the week confirmed Australia with three nation qualifications with another two on the line in tomorrow’s ILCA 6 & 7 final Gold Fleet races. This is an excellent initial step towards Paris, with lots of work still left to complete over the weekend here in The Hague.” Iain Brambell

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