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Cricket, rugby learn from Olympic sailors

29 October 2012

SAILING: The Australian cricket team, the Wallabies and a leading AFL club have held talks with Olympic sailing team boss Peter Conde in a bid to try and learn the secrets of his unprecedented success.

Australia's sailors were easily the nation's most successful athletes at the 2012 Olympics, winning three gold medals and a silver to eclipse their previous best Games performance of two golds, a silver and a bronze in Sydney.

Since becoming high performance director in 2009, Conde - who on Friday night was named sports professional of the year at the Australian yachting awards - has transformed the Olympic squad into the world's best.

As well as managing the London campaign, Conde also oversaw three gold medals at the 2011 Perth world championships and record-breaking success at world cup and world title events.

It's all been achieved on a fraction of the budget enjoyed by some of the nation's leading sports - a fact which is now being strongly noted by the federal government and elite coaches in cricket, rugby and AFL.

"There's quite a number of professional sports that's come to talk to us, which I think has been an interesting situation," Conde told AAP at the yachting awards in Sydney.

"... And that's great because it gives us an opportunity to learn from what they do as well."

Conde said he visited the Australian cricket team's Brisbane centre of excellence last week and witnessed its talent identification program. There have also been talks with the Wallabies' coaches and an AFL club in recent days.

"I think they're smart enough to do what we would want to do, which is go and talk to successful people to see whether they can learn something," Conde said.

The sailing team's recent success has been led by a golden generation including London 470 dinghy gold medallists Malcolm Page and Mat Belcher, Laser class Olympic champion Tom Slingsby and the 49er skiff gold medal winners, Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen.

But Conde says a crop of emerging new talent can lead Australia to even more success at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Miles Godfrey
AAP

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