05 December 2023
Reigning Olympic and World ILCA 7 Champion, Matt Wearn, has added to his glittering list of accomplishments in 2023 by being named the Male Athlete of the Year at the AIS Sport Performance Awards in Melbourne.
Wearn was rewarded for his stunning season, which peaked with back-to-back wins at the Paris 2024 Olympic Test Event in July and his first ILCA 7 World Championship in The Hague in August.
Matt’s return to the summit of the most competitive Olympic class was made more impressive considering the depths of his 2022 season, where long-COVID prevented him from competing in the 2022 World Championships and had him contemplating if he would be able to continue his campaign to Paris.
“It is such an honour to win AIS Male Athlete of the Year considering how competitive the category is with so many amazing athletes,” said Wearn.
“I couldn’t be happier with how this year has panned out after such a tough year last year. I owe a big thank you to the Australian Sailing Team for supporting me and giving me everything I needed to get back to performing at my best.”
The award is for outstanding achievements by a male athlete in sport and beyond sporting performances, with Wearn becoming just the second sailor to win it after Tom Slingsby took out the gong in 2012.
His performances this year came under the guidance of his new coach Rafa Trujillo, with the Spanish supercoach taking over from long-time Australian Sailing Team ILCA 7 mentor Michael Blackburn after the Tokyo Olympics.
“Matt deserves every accolade that comes his way after what he achieved this year,” said Australian Sailing Team High Performance Director Iain Brambell.
“Matt espouses and truly lives each of our team’s much coveted values, his resilience and perseverance in overcoming last year’s adversity to win this year’s pinnacle regattas is simply outstanding. We are incredibly proud of what Matt has achieved, and even further impressed with the manner in which he has achieved these feats.
“He leads by example on a daily basis both on and off the water, within the ILCA 7 squad and is highly revered and respected for his diligence and humility across the entire national squad.”
Wearn beat out a hot field including diver Cassiel Rousseau and swimmers Cameron McEvoy and Sam Short, all of whom won world championships at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka this year. The award will sit nicely alongside the 2023 Australian Sailing Male Sailor of the Year Award he won earlier this month.
Wearn is now busily preparing for a crucial home summer as he continues his campaign for Paris 2024. He will be competing at Sail Melbourne this week and Sail Sydney in December before defending his World Championship title on home waters at the 2024 ILCA7 World Championships in Adelaide in January 2024.