Sailor sets new mark with seventh world title
SAILING: Mat Belcher has become Australia's most successful Olympic class skipper in history with a seventh world crown after a sensational comeback at the world 470 titles in Greece.
Belcher was tied with Tornado catamaran skipper Darren Bundock prior to the event on six world titles but set a new mark as he and crew mate Will Ryan sailed to their fourth world title together.
A gold and silver Olympic medallist, Belcher is also hoping to rewrite history in Japan in 2020 as the first Australian to win three Olympic medals in sailing.
Sydney crewman Mal Page claimed seven 470 world titles as a crew with Nathan Wilmot and then Belcher but the latter is the first skipper to achieve the feat.
Belcher, who won every world 470 title between 2010 and 2015, and Ryan, who he teamed with to win silver at the Rio Olympics, were made to work hard for their latest success.
The pair only secured the gold medal on the final day of the world titles, moving from second to first after winning the double-points Medal race.
The pair beat the Swedish team of Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom for the gold with the Austrian team of David Bargehr and Lukas Mahr third.
"I think it is down to our unique partnership and personalities,” said Belcher of his and Ryan's success.
"We go to each of the events trying to be the best we can and we often find ourselves in tough positions and we try to find any opportunity we can.”
"I am really proud of Will as the conditions here have been tough and really physical.”
Belcher won gold with Page at the London Olympics with the later then retiring.
Belcher then forged a new partnership with Ryan which delivered the pair a silver in Rio.