TASMANIA’S London Paralympian Matt Bugg has qualified Australia for a place at the next Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The Hobart sailor finished fifth overall in the 2.4mR class at the International Federation of Disabled World Championship in Halifax, Canada.
The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania reported that Bugg had to finish in the top eight nations to qualify Australia.
Lifting from 14th place and ninth nation mid-regatta, he produced two outstanding final days.
He began his program with finishing places of seventh, 22nd, 19th and 20th as the German world champion Heiko Kroeger and the British 2012 gold medallist Helena Lucas fought for the lead with France’s Damien Sequin and British champion Megan Pascoe.
Bugg then surprised everyone with an outstanding win in race five of the highly competitive, 49-boat single-handed keelboat fleet. He followed this with a fifth and fourth before winning the eighth race and ending with a third.
His fifth overall lifted Australia to fourth in national standings behind Germany, France and Great Britain.
“Today was a good day to finish the regatta with,” Bugg, 33, said.
“Fifth overall was enough to qualify Australia for Rio in the 2.4 class, so I’m happy about that. And after the shocking start I had I really am happy with the result.”
In an exceptionally close regatta, Kroeger won on a countback from Seguin after both finished with a net 31 points, with Lucas third on 33 points. Pascoe finished with a net 33 points, Bugg on 57 points.
Bugg, a member of the RYCT and Derwent Sailing Squadron where his father Ron is president and commodore respectively, finished seventh at the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
He became a paraplegic after a snow boarding accident at Saint Moritz, but returned to sailing under Tasmanian high performance coach Richard Scarr.
Australia’s other representative in the 2.4mR worlds, fellow Tasmanian Neil Patterson, finished 35th in his first international regatta.