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Aussie sailors eye another golden Olympics

Tue, Aug 2, 11:35am by Staff Writer

Lisa DarmaninSailing hasn’t really been part of the Australian sporting mainstream since a certain sitting PM called all our bosses bums for not giving us a day off when we won the America’s Cup in 1983.

You can’t imagine Bob Hawke’s famous quip would wash these days. Modern politician speak is so carefully managed and you get the feeling that Malcolm Turnbull has never used the word bum in his life.

So, it’s not surprising that the efforts of our world class sailing team continue to go unnoticed.

The great ‘Did You Know’ question of London 2012 is that Australia won three gold medals in sailing, more than any other sport.

And there is every chance that the 2016 team, despite the challenges they face on the water, will at least match those efforts in Rio.

Sportsbet‘s markets on the sailing events have Aussies favourite in three of the ten events. Heading our chances is our team in the newest Olympic sailing event, the Mixed Nacra.

Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin are cousins who won the test event at this course in 2015 as well as the Sailing World Cup at the 2012 Olympic venue at Weymouth and Portland.

They finished third at both the 2014 world championships in Denmark and second in the 2016 World Cup event in Miami.

As a result, they go in as $1.67 favourites to win gold, with the French pair of Billy Besson and Marie Riou, the 2014 world champions, their major rivals at $2.70.

Tom Burton is $2.70 favourite to claim gold in the men’s Laser, as he looks to defend the gold won by Tom Slingsby at London. Burton is a world championship silver and bronze medallist, while he won two World Cup events in 2015, including the final in Abu Dhabi.

Great Britain’s Nick Thompson, who has won the past two world championships, is second favourite at $4.33.

But the shortest-priced Australians for gold are Mathew Betcher and Will Ryan ($1.62) in the 470 two-person dinghy. Betcher was a gold medallist in this event with Malcolm Page at London 2012 and is joined by Ryan in his first Olympics.

The pair won the world championships in the 470 in 2013, 2014 and 2015, before taking bronze this year. They won the Rio test event last year and face one major rival, the Croatian team of Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic ($2.70) who won the recent world champs at San Isidro in Argentina.

The men’s 49er pair of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen are back to defend their gold medal from 2012, but are only rated $4.50 third favourites to do so. New Zealand pair Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, who have won the last four world championships, are $1.33 to add Olympic gold to their resume in Rio.

The other possibility for gold comes in the men’s Finn, where Jake Lilley is $10, but on the fourth line of betting, while Ashley Stoddart is rated the best chance in the women’s events, with her odds of $26 in the Laser Radial.

But world class opponents won’t be the biggest worry for the sailors. The water quality in Guanabara Bay is highly questionable, and the AOC have brought in the synchronised swimming team to teach the sailors to hold their breath under water should they be dumped in the ocean. The message is simple. Stay out of the water! That’s not so easy when the main sailing ramp at the venue has already collapsed.

The sailing program runs from August 8 until August 18, with medals awarded from the 14th onwards.

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