SETTING SAIL: Australian Tom Burton is hoping his strong form can carry him to gold in Rio.
SETTING SAIL: Australian Tom Burton is hoping his strong form can carry him to gold in Rio. Theron Kirkman

Burton won't let debris derail his quest for gold

SAILING: The world's No.1 Laser sailor, Tom Burton, admits there are still "big floating objects” and rubbish at Rio's Marina de Gloria venue, but says they are the least of his worries.

Sydney product Burton is rapt to be competing at his first Olympics, having been edged out by eventual gold medal winner Tom Slingsby for Australia's spot at London in 2012.

"The water isn't great. It's a hard thing to change overnight,” Burton told Australian Regional Media.

"There is still quite a bit of rubbish out in the bay and some big floating objects you have to keep an eye out for.

"We are well aware of the situation and what to expect.”

Burton carries excellent form into Rio.

The 26-year-old won two World Cup events last year - in Hyeres, France, and the final in Abu Dhabi - and finished third at the world championships.

He also finished second at the 2014 world championships and won the World Cup final that year.

"I know from my results over the past four years I can win regattas,” Burton said.

"But this is my first Olympics. Sailing's very variable, so even when confidence is high there needs to be some cautious thinking about the racing every day.”

Burton's preparation has been spot-on since he downed training partner and world No.2 Matt Wearn to secure the sole Laser spot on the team.

"This year I've spent time training in Europe and preparing before heading to Rio,” Burton said.

"I've been away from home for nearly five months to try and prepare the best way I knew how.

"I'm happy with how everything has gone so far and I've left nothing on the table.”

After putting in the hard yards training for a moment he has dreamed of since taking up sailing at age nine, Burton will be shooting for the stars in Rio.

"I really want a gold medal, although it is such a tough sport ... at the end of the day, standing on the podium with any colour, I will be happy,” he said.


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