Displaying items by tag: Aoife Hopkins
Aoife Hopkins will not appeal last week’s decision to cut-short the Radial Olympic trial for Tokyo 2021 as Howth Yacht Club, expressed its disappointment for both the former U21 European Champion and clubmate Eve McMahon, both contestants in the Irish trials.
Hopkins (21), who was Murphy's (30) nearest rival for the single Tokyo berth, was left 'devastated' last week when the trials were stopped.
"I really can’t understand the decision not to continue with the trials. I am utterly and completely devastated", she told Afloat after the decision.
Speaking at the weekend, Howth Yacht Club Commodore Ian Byrne told Afloat 'Our club is naturally disappointed for Aoife and Eve and that they didn’t get the chance to follow through with their campaigns'.
Under the selection process, if one or more of the trial regattas are cancelled, then the person with the best performance in the completed trial regattas secures the nomination.
Murphy finished the ILCA Laser Radial Women’s World Championship in 12th place, Hopkins finished in 40th, Aisling Keller 63rd, and Academy sailor McMahon 78th.
The manner in which the decision was made and conveyed to Hopkins took her and supporters aback last Monday, (including some sponsors), given that the Olympics is still a year away, adding heft to her argument there was plenty of time to complete the trials series among the four Irish contestants.
Hopkins club has expressed its disappointment at the decision despite the fact that the Rio silver medalist may have set a tough target for the others after a top placing at February's World Championships.
Hopkins is arguably the most affected by the decision, given the length of her campaign and also that she might have expected to be in Tokyo, before Annalise’s return to the class after she gave up on the 49er FX last September.
Hopkins also had a club rival in young Academy sailor Eve McMahon who had been given the chance to contest the trial as a 16-year-old, so the Radial trial was of significant interest at Ireland's biggest yacht club.
McMahon is playing a ‘long game’, with a clear focus on future campaigns. A talented racer, she already has what it takes to compete at the highest level and was crowned U17 champion at the Worlds in February.
Hopkins says she is taking time out to reassess her situation.
'Aoife is a talented and hard-working competitor and once she’s had the time to reflect on her situation, she will emerge stronger than ever, Howth's Brian Turvey told Afloat. 'it’s easy to forget that Eve is still only 16 years of age and she has a terrific future ahead of her'.
'We have followed their progress and supported their campaigns since their first aspirations in competition and we are gutted for them after what must feel like a lifetime of commitment', Commodore Byrne added.
We wish Annalise well and hope that Irish Sailing’s interjection in this process produces the right result, the HYC Commodore said.
As Afloat previously reported, Irish Sailing's James O'Callaghan said "Annalise’s performance in the 2020 Worlds made her a clear favourite to win the scheduled trials. By nominating her now the Irish Sailing Board have ensured that team preparations can move focus to the Olympics rather than preparing for domestic trials”.
He went on to say: “for sure this is tough on Aoife but she is still very young and can benefit massively from team training planned in Tokyo”.
O'Callaghan said at the weekend that no appeals against the decision had been received. Murphy's nomination will be put forward to the Olympic Federation of Ireland for ratification.
A cut-short Olympic trial in the women's Laser Radial class has handed trials leader and Rio silver medalist Annalise Murphy selection for the Tokyo Olympics as Afloat reports here. News of this week's decision, however, has left two of the trialists, Aoife Hopkins and Aisling Keller, 'upset' and 'devasted' and questioning why the decision was ratified by the Irish Sailing board with the postponed Olympic Games still over a year away.
A third trialist, Irish Sailing Academy sailor Eve McMahon, says the circumstances of COVID-19 could not be foreseen and the trial, in so far as it went, was a 'tremendous experience' for her.
The remaining two Olympic trials events have been cancelled due to coronavirus and – as the four trialists were informed this week – selection has been based solely on the worlds from February, an event in which the National Yacht Club's Murphy finished 12th, well clear of her Irish rivals.
Keller of Lough Derg Yacht Club whose performance at the 2019 Australian World Championships qualified Ireland's only boat for the Tokyo Olympics so far, said she is "very surprised and upset that the remainder of the trials will not happen for the 2021 Olympics".
21-year-old Hopkins of Howth Yacht Club gave a similar reaction, "I really can’t understand the decision not to continue with the trials. I am utterly and completely devastated".
Both Hopkins and Keller were quick to take to social media to express their disappointment.
Both sailors say they were aiming to catch up in the next two trials after Murphy took the lead in the first of the three planned trials in a breezy world championships in Melbourne in February.
"Over the past few years, I’ve sacrificed a lot to fulfil my dream of becoming an Olympian. I am devastated to not even have the chance to try catch up to Annalise or Aoife over two more regattas, Keller says.
A third trialist, McMahon of Howth Yacht Club, current Gold Medal holder in the Laser Radial U17s World League after success in Canada joined the trial series at Christmas and told Afloat of the 'amazing opportunity to sail and train with the Olympic Radial Development Team'.
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Team manager James O'Callaghan says "Annalise’s performance in the 2020 Worlds made her a clear favourite to win the scheduled trials. By nominating her now the Irish Sailing Board have ensured that team preparations can move focus to the Olympics rather than preparing for domestic trials”. He went on to say: “for sure this is tough on Aoife but she is still very young and can benefit massively from team training planned in Tokyo".
Murphy who returned to the Radial after failing to qualify for Tokyo in the 49erFX dinghy made an immediate impact on the Radial fleet, coming close to winning the Melbourne Worlds before finishing 12th after taking two penalties in final races.
Aisling Keller: “On Monday I got a courtesy phone call to be informed that The Olympic spot had been given to Annalise. I am very surprised and upset that the remainder of the trials will not happen for the 2021 Olympics. Over the past few years, I’ve sacrificed a lot to fulfil my dream of becoming an Olympian. I am devastated to not even have the chance to try catch up to Annalise or Aoife over two more regattas. I was planning on doing these regattas independently i.e not with Irish sailing, as I had resigned from Irish sailing in April due to my own lack of progress and my unhappiness with how I had been treated. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my supporters for everything over the past few years, especially everyone down in Lough Derg Yacht Club and my home town of Nenagh".
Aoife Hopkins: “On Monday I was told that Irish Sailing did not intend to reschedule the remaining two trials events. I really can’t understand the decision not to continue with the trials. I am utterly and completely devastated. I am going to take some time out for reflection and to reassess. A huge amount of hard work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears went into this journey and I will use the next while to decide what direction my life will take. No matter what path I end up on, I will always be a sportswoman and an avid sailor, whether that be big boat or small! I would like to thank my family, friends and all my supporters both from within sport and the wider community, especially from my home town of Howth".
Eve McMahon: “I had an amazing opportunity to sail and train with the Olympic Radial Development Team. Training alongside the Olympic medallist Annalise Murphy was both an honour and a privilege for me and gave me tremendous inspiration and experience which helped me enormously during the run up to the 1st Olympic trial - Senior World Championships in Melbourne last February. The trial selection process was interrupted by the Covid 19 world pandemic, which nobody could have foreseen. Annalise was a whisker away from winning that World Championship. I fully support her selection and wish her the very best of luck in her Tokyo campaign and have great confidence that she has what it takes to bring back the gold medal for Irish sailing.”
After frustrations in her attempt to qualify in the two-handed 49erFX class, Annalise Murphy is back in the boat with which she won silver at the 2016 Olympics — Ireland’s strongest Olympic sailing result to date.
All four have been training together in Melbourne, Australia since the start of the year, ahead of the Laser Radial World Championship (starting tomorrow, Friday 21 February) which will be the first of three chances between now and April for one of them to secure that coveted spot.
“Think about how that must be for them,” writes Sonia. “They know that only one of them will go to Tokyo so they wouldn’t be human if they didn’t have some sort of selfish instinct in them. It would be only natural for them to keep little bits and pieces that they’re learning back for themselves to give them a better chance of being the one who gets the spot on the boat.
“But they also know that the more they push each other, the better they make each other. And the better they make each other, the greater chance of a medal for Ireland and a better all round result for Irish sailing.”
Sonia also gets out on the water with Annalise to experience first-hand the speed and excitement of the Laser Radial — and the rush Annalise and her fellow challengers will be feeling when the training is done and the race is on.
21-year-old Olympic sailing hopeful, Aoife Hopkins will attempt to qualify for the forthcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo this month and is supported in her bid by Mercedes-Benz.
From Howth, Aoife has been sailing since the age of nine and has held the Women’s Laser Radial Irish national champion and under-21 European champion titles, amongst other accolades.
The first of three Olympic trials for Irish selection, the World Championships, will see Aoife compete in Melbourne, Australia.
While sailing is the main priority at the moment, balancing study and sport is a talent Aoife has learned to master over the years. Recently, the Howth Yacht Club star became a University College Dublin financial maths student, having previously studied at Trinity College Dublin for two years.
With just two races remaining at the Laser Radial World Championships in Sakaiminato, Japan to be sailed on Wednesday, both Irish Olympic campaigners are within reach of the single Irish qualification place for Tokyo 2020. Ten nation places are being decided this week.
Aoife Hopkins (Howth, Co. Dublin) moved up a place after the penultimate day’s racing to 41st place while team-mate Aisling Keller (Nenagh, Co. Tiperary) slipped down the standings from 40th to 49th.
However, Hopkins’ overall position equates to fifth nation while Keller’s result would be tenth nation: mathematically, it is still possible that both sailors could slip outside the criteria on the final day.
The Howth sailor was disqualified for premature starting in the opening race of the day though sailed the course amongst the leading boats. She then scored a 25th in the race that followed while using the single discard to drop the earlier disqualification.
Meanwhile, her team-mate from Lough Derg sailed well in the opening stages of both races but suffered on the downwind legs as conditions were the freshest of the series so far.
“Aoife did exactly what she needed to do after the disqualification - get stuck in and get a good result,” said Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing’s Head Coach. “Her confidence and momentum are growing with the experience of racing at this level.”
Two final races are scheduled for Wednesday (early-morning Irish time) that will decide the world championship that is currently led by Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom.
Subject to qualification for Tokyo 2020 at this opportunity, a selection trial series will follow next year. A further qualification opportunity also exists for European nations in Genoa in April.
Genoa will also be the qualification opportunity for the men’s single-handed Laser event while Ireland’s skiff sailors will seek qualification for the Olympics at the 49er and 49erFX men and womens’ world championships in New Zealand in November.
Results are here
Both Aisling Keller (Nenagh, Co. Tipperary) and Aoife Hopkins (Howth, Co. Dublin) qualified for the Gold fleet final round at the Laser Radial World Championship at Sakaiminato, Japan earlier today (Sunday 21st July 2019).
The event is the penultimate qualification regatta for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the women's single-handed event sailed in the Radial.
After two days of light winds that put the championship behind schedule, the fleet had a protracted third day afloat for eight hours as the organisers staged three races to catch-up on most of the event schedule.
Both Keller and Hopkins had two good results apiece with an eighth and an eleventh respectively that leaves them 29th and 37th overall at the end of the qualification series for the 111-boat event.
A six-race Gold fleet series begins on Monday with two races scheduled daily before concluding the world championship on Wednesday.
A total of ten-nation places are available from the world championship for Tokyo with 14 countries in the Gold fleet all seeking one of the quota. Both Keller and Hopkins are currently inside the qualification standings.
"It was a challenging day to be consistent with winds ranging from fresh to moderate to light but flukey at all times," commented Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing's Head Coach. "The plan continues to be to sail one race at a time as a very tough Gold fleet final round lies ahead."
Results are here
Both Irish women competing at the World Championships in Sakaiminato, Japan achieved top 20 results as the pair aim to secure the single place for Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Aisling Keller (Nenagh, Co. Tipperary) had a 14th place while Aoife Hopkins (Howth, Co. Dublin) was 17th in the single race day for their 55-boat Blue flight.
The moderate breeze that the two qualification flights started in proved quite unstable and soon eased to near calm conditions. Plans for a second race were dropped.
As Afloat reported previously, a second day of slack winds on Miho Bay has put the qualification round behind schedule and while three races may be attempted on Sunday, the finals series must begin on Monday regardless.
Two races on Sunday would see the series discard come into force and allow Hopkins to drop her 34th place from the opening day to maximise her potential to achieve Gold fleet for the finals.
“We have good momentum now so I’m pretty happy that Aisling and Aoife have settled in,” said Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing’s Head Coach.
Ten nation places for the women’s single-handed dinghy in Tokyo will be decided at this world championship in addition to the 20 already allocated from 2018 events. Either or both Irish sailors must first qualify for Gold fleet on Sunday and score well by Wednesday’s final race to achieve Irish qualification.
But it’s also been part of a longer return for the Cork sailor, who swapped competitive racing for coaching after success in the Optimist class as a junior last decade.
A reconnection with former junior peer Annalise on the Wednesday night scene in Dublin led to a fateful phone call a year ago, from the Olympic silver medallist to the primary school teacher: did Katie want to join her 49erFX Olympic campaign?
“I don’t think she’d have asked me if she didn’t think I could do it and I wouldn’t have said yes if I didn’t think deep down that I could do it either,” Katie tells The42.ie.
The 29-year-old was already deep into training and conditioning when Annalise returned from her stint in the Volvo Ocean Race, and the two started getting to grips with their new boat on Dublin Bay — the Olympian learning from Katie who had previous experience in two-handed dinghies.
However, a freak incident just weeks into training left Katie with a broken arm — and out of the water for four crucial months.
As needs must, Annalise shortly after resumed training over the winter in the warmer climes of Portugal, with Adam Hyland in Katie’s stead — while Katie hit the gym as soon as doctors allowed get back on the road to sailing fitness.
Earlier this year Annalise and Katie, how fully healed up, reunited and got back in their groove with the challenging 49erFX as their first big test — and first Tokyo 2020 qualifier — looms in Genoa just two weeks from now.
Another young sailor who faces a big test in Genoa is Howth Yacht Club’s Aoife Hopkins.
The Laser Radial ace not only steps into the significant gap left by Annalise Murphy, whose Rio 2016 silver medal was in the class — she’s also in competition with teammate Aisling Keller for the single slot available to Ireland.
Aoife tells The Irish Times how she juggles the training regimen of her Tokyo 2020 campaign with the demands of her maths degree at Trinity College, not to mention the various expenses associated with performance sailing at the highest level.
"I'm really gutted to have to announce that I will not be competing", Hopkins told Afloat.
Over the last three weeks Hopkins says she hasn't been able to recover in time to either train or race.
"This has been incredibly frustrating as Palma was where I was looking forward to putting winter training to the test and applying the lessons learned in Miami".
Hopkins expects to contest the Senior Europeans in May.
#Tokyo2020 - Mercedes-Benz has extended its involvement in sailing with its support of Howth Yacht Club’s Aoife Hopkins as she prepares her challenge to qualify for Ireland’s team at the forthcoming 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
The arrangement sees Mercedes-Benz retain its status as the only vehicle manufacturer supporting Ireland’s bid for further Olympic glory in the Laser Radial class, in which Annalise Murphy won the silver medal at Rio 2016.
From Howth, 19-year-old Aoife Hopkins is currently Women’s Laser Radial Irish champion and U21 European champion, following her gold medal win at the 2017 Europeans in France — which earned her Afloat.ie’s Sailor of the Month honour for July 2017.
Daughter of Niamh and Troy Hopkins, Aoife hails from a family of sailors and herself started sailing when she was only nine years old.
Her father and brother Daniel currently sail Lasers, while her other brother Conor formerly took part in the sport, all at Howth.
A former student of Santa Sabina school in Sutton, where she achieved more than 600 points in the Leaving Cert, Aoife is now a first year maths student under a sports scholarship at Trinity College Dublin.
“I am delighted to have the support of Mercedes-Benz whose involvement in sailing ensures that my preparations for Tokyo are off to a flying start,” she said at the announcement this week.
Aoife has taken delivery of a 181-registered Vito Mixto, which she will use to transport her team, herself and her equipment to events both here in Ireland and overseas.
Fitted with features fit for a sailing star, specifications include a leatherette interior, leather multi-function steering wheel, interior chrome package, air conditioning, audio 15 sound system, a reverse camera and more.
It will have an eye-catching presence at sailing events throughout Ireland and beyond thanks to its subtle yet eye-catching silver and grey livery.
Wishing her every success in her preparations for Tokyo, Fergus Conheady, sales manager for Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicles, told Aoife: “We are proud to support another of Ireland’s amazing young sailors and wish them every success as they challenge to be the sole competitor in the Laser Radial class to qualify to represent Ireland.”