Rio 2016 Paralympics - Tasmanian sailors on the Road to Rio

Tasmanian High Performance sailrs, in front, Matt Bugg, left to right, Emma Barton, Jock Calvert, Lucy Shephard and Anna Vaughan - Rio 2016 Paralympics
Peter Campbell
Paralympic sailor Matt Bugg heads for Canada this week in a bid to again qualify Australia as a nation a place at the Rio 2016 Paralympics.

Bugg, who will be sailing in the International 2.4mR class in which he finished seventh overall at the London 2012 Paralympics, is one of five Tasmanians seeking a berth at the Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In mid-August, the Australian Sailing Team member will contest the International Federation of Disabled Sailors world championship at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Bugg must finish in the top seven to qualify Australia as a nation for a place in the restricted fleet for the 2.4mR class at the Rio Paralympics. His recent results in European regattas rank him a top prospect at the Canadian regatta.

Joining him at the IFDS worlds will be Neil Patterson, Australian Sailing Squad member and Tasmania’s newest State Sailing Performance Program recruit.

In September, three young Tasmanian women, Amelia Catt and Lucy Shephard from Hobart and Emma Barton from Launceston, will be contest the International 470 class women’s world championship at Santander, Spain, the first qualifying event for this class for the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Catt, an Australia Sailing Squad member, sails in the 470 class with her new skipper, Queenslander Sasha Ryan. Lucy Shephard and her crew Emma Barton, also sail a 470, with the two crews recently returned from competing in European regattas.

Bugg, Patterson, Catt, Shephard, Barton, along with teenagers Jock Calvert and Anna Vaughan, are members of the new-look State Sailing Performance Program launched last evening at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania by the President of Yachting Tasmania, Ron Bugg, and Mark Robinson, Performance Manager, Pathway and Paralympic Programs, from Yachting Australia.

Calvert, an Australian Sailing Youth Team member, has just returned from Portugal where he represented Australia on the RS:X Windsurfer at the ISAF Youth World Championships in Portugal.

Calvert and Vaughan are not sailing overseas again this year because of school and university studies.

The State Sailing Performance Program (SSPP) is a performance based program with a squad of athletes, selected annually, under nationally aligned criteria.

These athletes are recognised by Yachting Australia and the Tasmanian Institute of Sport as athletes with potential to excel and represent Australia at International Regattas and ultimately the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The SSPP provides a key link in the performance pathway from clubs, class and state-based underpinning programs to the Australian Sailing Squad and Australian Sailing Team.

In addition to on-water coaching and technical support from the State coach, the athletes receive strength and conditioning support from the Tasmanian Institute of Sport and a critical 'add on' service that supports the overall preparation and development of the athletes by way of a sport science and sport medicine component that incorporates sport psychology, nutrition and physiotherapy.

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