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Should Results From the Women's Olympic Radial Trial Be Based on Female Participation Only?

14th January 2016

The second Olympic Women's Laser Radial trial in Miami is looming but it looks like there were some unexpected implications from December's first trial between Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins in Rio because men were racing with women in the Radial class at the Copa Bresil de Vela regatta writes Water Rat.

In the race for the single Irish berth at this year's Olympics, the Irish Sailing Association currently rank Murphy as leading the Olympic trial ahead of Hopkins. There is no doubt that Hopkins was well beaten, no matter what way you read it. They all sailed off the same start, with the same competitors. But whether she was beaten by 10 boats (women only) or by 13 boats (men and women) could become significant in the event of closer racing in the next trials at Miami on January 25th and Mexico. 

Should the results not be based on female participation only? 

If the answer is negative, perhaps Hopkins should make an appeal immediately so that the issue can be sorted before this month's second Miami based trial in ten days time. In the absence of any appeal procedures on the ISA website, Water Rat looked over the race documents from Copa de Brazil and makes the following observations:

In NOR 3.3 there are 2 separate competitions the Copa Bresil de Vela and the Copa Bresil de Vela Jovem (Youth)

The Irish Girls were competing in the Copa Brasil Laser Radial (W) class.

In the youth event there were both men and womens categories in the Laser Radial.

NOR 5.1.2 states:

For Olympic classes the regatta will consist of an opening series followed by a Medal Race as per item 5.2. Youth classes Laser Radial and RS:X will be grouped with their Olympic class on a single starting sequence, course and overall results and for Medal Race criteria will be considered as one single class.

NOR 16.1 states that prizes will be awarded to the top 3 boats in each class.

NOR 16.2 reads :

16.2 In Youth classes Laser Radial (Male and Female) and RS:X (Male and Female) the top 3 boats will be defined by the better three boats in the overall results grouped with the Olympic classes

According to the results Aoife was considered to be sailing in the Youth event.

The ISA trial regulations (as quoted) state:

Points shall be awarded to the Candidate in each Trial Regatta exactly corresponding to that Candidate’s final overall placing in that Trial Regatta as shown on the official final results sheet published by the regatta organisers. For example, an overall first place shall score one point; a second place shall score two points and so on

Conclusions

1. It could be argued that Annalise and Aoife were not sailing in the same class nor even in the same event! In this case Annalise finished 14th in the Copa Bresil de Vela 2015 Laser Radial Class (W) and Aoife finished 3rd in the Laser Radial (W) in the Copa Bresil de Vela Jovem 2015. In which case the results of this event cannot provide significant information to select a sailor for the Olympics.

2. It could also be argued that both sailors were competing in the Olympic Women's Single-handed Class (for which the trial is designed to select the Irish competitor) which excludes male competitors but not those under 19 . In which case Annalise finished 14th and Aoife 24th.

3 Finally, a strict reading of the ISA regulations places Annalise 15th and Aoife 28th as per the results provided by the event.

4. The intention of the event organisers to sail and score all the Laser Radial classes as one class was clearly signalled in the NOR. It is the responsibility of the competitors to read the NOR and raise any objection before or during the event. However, in this case it would seem that the trial organisers may equally have failed to fully appreciate the implications of the NOR for the trials?

Published in Water Rat
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