by Craig Heydon
At the London 2012 Olympics, Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page will begin the defence of Australia’s 470 men’s gold medal when racing in their class gets underway on Thursday. The pair heads into London 2012 as favourites, they’ve been undefeated this year, have won the last three 470 World Championships and have held the world number one ranking since the middle of 2010.
Sail for Gold 2012, Weymouth, England - Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page
Page won gold in Beijing sailing alongside Nathan Wilmot, teaming up with former rival Belcher at the end of 2008.
Working alongside coach Victor Kovalenko the pair rose to the top of the class and has been there ever since.
Belcher and Page have had a great buildup to the London 2012 Olympic Games, claiming their first win in Weymouth last month, as they push to win Australia’s third 470 men’s gold medal from the last four Olympic Games.
'Our preparation has been fantastic,' said Belcher. 'We’ll be fighting hard as soon as the first start gun goes, we’ll go out there and give it everything, race by race.
'To be coming into the Games in the position that we’re in gives us great confidence,' he said. 'We don’t have anything to worry about, we know we have speed, good strategy, and are in good form. All we can do is just to keep ticking along, we’ve got a nice calm atmosphere coming into it, are comfortable with where we’re at and are enjoying the experience.'
The Australians made the decision to stay in Weymouth for the Opening Ceremony, watching it on TV with other team members.
'Firstly we’re here for performance, that’s our main priority,' said Page. 'The ceremony was an amazing celebration of the Olympic Games. It was really good to see the Aussies come out, after being to a few Games there were a lot of familiar faces from different sports, we didn’t see Australia for too long on the coverage over here but it was special.'
The 470 men’s fleet will contest 10 fleet races and a final medal race between Thursday 2 August and Thursday 9 August.
Australian Sailing Team website