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Tokyo 2020: Accident hits Kiwi team

Published on June 26th, 2021

The price of high performance boats in the Olympics is injury as the characteristics of skiffs and catamarans can be hard on the crew. The latest casualty hits the New Zealand Sailing Team in advance of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Kiwi sailor Erica Dawson landed in the hospital on June 22 after falling off her foiling Nacra 17 cat during a training session, breaking her leg while she and her skipper, Micah Wilkinson, were working alongside the Australian Olympic crew in Mooloolaba, Australia.

The 26-year-old was hit by the rudder, breaking her fibula.

“There have been many tears,” she wrote on her Instagram page. “But also managed many laughs despite the situation we are in. I will do my absolute best for a speedy recovery to be on that start line with Micah and come out stronger.”

Dawson and Wilkinson have had a meteoric rise just to get where they are, with Kiwi Nacra 17 teams getting reshuffled to achieve a greater outcome.

They paired up only in 2019 but quickly established their credentials to earn selection for the Tokyo Games, with Wilkinson shifting to helm after previously crewing for Liv Mackay. For Dawson, she had been helming a 49erFX, having finished third at the 2017 Enoshima Olympic Week with Kate Stewart.

“At the beginning of 2019, when our other sailing partnerships ended, probably neither of us thought that Tokyo would ever really happen, to be honest,” she says. “Just jumping into it, trusting each other and giving it everything has paid off.”

Yachting New Zealand is optimistic that Dawson will be able to recover in time to race at the Olympics. They are making sure she is getting “all the right support and equipment” she needs.

At this point, Dawson will stay on the Sunshine Coast. Another sailor may fly to Australia to train with Wilkinson in the meantime.

Source: Newsroom, Yachting NZL

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Program
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn
Men’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Women’s Windsurfing – RS:X
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17

Original dates: July 24 to August 9, 2020
Revised dates: July 23 to August 8, 2021


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