NZ sailor makes miracle comeback in time for Tokyo

Source: 1News

With Mount Fuji as a backdrop, Enoshima Island - 50 kilometres south west of Tokyo - could be the perfect setting for New Zealand Olympic sailing glory.

But just four weeks ago, the picture looked grim for Nacra 17 sailors Erica Dawson and Micah Wilkinson with an accident in Queensland putting their entire campaign in jeopardy.

"I came off the boat and got hit by the rudder, which broke me fibular,” Dawson recalled to 1 NEWS.

“I didn't think it was broken until I went to the hospital because my wetsuit was really compressing it and it hadn't swollen yet.

“But as soon as I took my wetsuit off it swelled a lot, then I was a bit concerned.”

That concern, like her swelling, continued to grow as thoughts of the month ahead and the years of training up until that point began to flood her mine.

Nacra 17 sailors Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson.

“I was just so gutted because I didn't know what it meant,” she said.

“But then I had one surgeon tell me not to give up hope so I kind of just clung onto that.”

Wilkinson added they drew belief from other Kiwi athletes too.

“Obviously we've seen it was the same bone that [former All Black] Waisake Noholo broke [before he competed in the Rugby World Cup] so there was a bit of confidence we'd have a quick recovery.”

In fact, Dawson departed for the Games last week still on crutches at the airport – equipment nowhere to be seen on Enoshima Island.

They haven’t been seen at training in Japan this week either, giving their comeback attempt a near-miracle status.

"We took it pretty easy the first few days but Erica's made an amazing recovery,” Wilkinson said.

“We weren't expecting to be a week and a half out, almost full speed on the boat. It's really exciting, we've got another week to just settle in before the competition starts."

Dawson added relief doesn’t begin to describe the feelings she has.

“It was in doubt there for a little bit so we're just stoked to be here."

One mountain scaled for a duo and sailing unit expecting to reach new Olympic heights next week.