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Australian Sailing boss hails big year

AAP logoAAP 23/12/2016 Adrian Warren

Australian Sailing president Matt Allen is bullish about the nation's Tokyo Olympic prospects and the future of the sport after a year of international success.

Allen, who is taking part in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race from Monday, has reflected on a 2016 in which strong on-the-water performance has been supplemented by what he calls the most-significant year in the history of the sport's administration.

Australia won one gold and three silver medals at the Rio Olympic Games.

The country's Paralympic sailors finished on the podium in all three classes they contested, winning two gold and a silver.

The total of seven medals across the two major quadrennial global sporting events was the most won in sailing.

Previously, Australia had won a combined five medals in London and five in Sydney.

The success carried into December with the nation winning two gold and a bronze at the youth sailing world championships in Auckland.

"We're really pleased," Allen told AAP.

"The Olympics and the Paralympics and the youth world championships last week in Auckland, Australia is really performing well right across the board.

"We've got great talent coming through; we've got great prospects for the Tokyo Olympics.

"We've got the right pathways for youth and we're starting to really seriously grow the sport and doing that consistently across the country."

Allen emphasised it had been a big year for the sport off the water as well.

"I think it's been the most-significant year in the history of the administration of the sport in this country," Allen said.

"Australian Sailing was established in 1950 in the lead-up to the 1956 Olympics.

"The changes we've made in terms of bringing all the staff under the one management and having clear and consistent directions right across the country is really going to put us in good shape going forward."

Allen is hoping for some sailing success of his own next week, when he contests the Sydney-Hobart for a 27th time.

He entered both his Ichi iBan boats but had opted to race his TP52 and not the Carkeek 60 he competed in last year.

Allen has experienced navigator Will Oxley back in his crew this year.

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