Burling, Tuke thrilled by award

New Zealand Olympic sailors Peter Burling (left) and Blair Tuke pose with the Lonsdale Cup at the...
New Zealand Olympic sailors Peter Burling (left) and Blair Tuke pose with the Lonsdale Cup at the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron in Auckland yesterday. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Sailors Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have won the Lonsdale Cup for 2020 following a dominant performance to retain their world championship title.

In a year in which international sport was severely disrupted due to Covid-19, the Olympic champions were in action in February, defending the world title they had won just two months prior in Auckland.

Racing in Melbourne, the pair again displayed their pedigree, winning seven of the 13 races to finish 28 points ahead of their nearest rivals and claim a staggering sixth world championship title.

New Zealand Olympic Committee chief executive Kereyn Smith said Burling and Tuke were deserved winners of the Lonsdale Cup.

"Winning six world titles is an amazing feat. A huge amount of dedication, skill and hard work is required for every campaign and these athletes have proven time and time again that they are a cut above the rest," she said.

"We were thrilled to have Pete and Blair as our flagbearers for the Rio Olympic Games and we are pleased to be presenting them with the Lonsdale Cup. The NZOC thanks them for their contribution to sport and to New Zealand society.”

Burling and Tuke were thrilled to win the award.

"It’s an honour to represent New Zealand and we are grateful to the NZOC for this acknowledgement” Burling said.

"Through our sport we not only get to do what we love but we get to inspire the next generation of Kiwis and shine a light on the importance of protecting our ocean. It’s the best job in the world." Tuke said.

Burling and Tuke have been in New Zealand since last February preparing for the 36th America’s Cup in March followed by the launch of their NZL SailGP campaign in April and their Olympic campaign in July.

Burling said this year was set to be an exciting year for yachting with the America’s Cup followed by the Tokyo Olympics.

The Lonsdale Cup is the NZOC’s most prestigious award and is presented annually to the athlete or team that has made the most outstanding contribution to an Olympic or Commonwealth Sport.

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