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Displaying items by tag: Tokyo 2020

Ireland will keep its only Tokyo 2020 berth so far and could benefit from another if final outstanding qualification events do not take place, according to the world governing body for the sport of sailing.

Confirmation that the place Lough Derg Yacht Club's Aisling Keller won for Ireland in the women's Laser Radial class remains intact was welcome news last week but there was mixed news for the rest of the squad if it proves impossible to host 'fair qualifications' later this year or early next.

Irish campaigns chasing last places in the 49er, Laser and Finn classes were in turmoil last month when COVID-19 hit key final European qualifications in Italy and Spain, ultimately postponing the Games itself.

The race to win the right to represent Ireland in the Radial has also been upset by the disease spread and the four-way trial currently led by Annalise Murphy has sailed only one of three legs so far. 

15% of quota places using 'historical results'

World Sailing President Kim Andersen said on April 2nd that after consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the sport will be able to complete its outstanding qualification events for Africa, Asia and Europe before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021 but if that proves unworkable Andersen also said it would allocate the remaining 15% of quota places using 'historical results'.

In such a scenario, Ireland could increase its representation in Tokyo but only by one boat. There were no details of the proposed 'system', to be used but if the last world championship scoresheets are scrutinised, it will impact Irish campaigns; one positively and two negatively.

As Afloat reported previously, It would be good news for Ireland in the 49er class. Ireland is competing with Belgium, Sweden and Italy for the one remaining European place. Form at the 2020 Worlds suggests that Irish sailors would be favourites for the place having finished ahead of the other three candidates.

In the men's Laser class, there are two European places yet to be won or allocated with four countries in the running – Belgium, Netherlands, Italy and Ireland. Unfortunately, Ireland finished behind all of these at the last World Championships.

In the Finn class, Ireland is well out of the running. There is one European slot remaining, but six as yet to qualify countries finished ahead of Ireland at the recent Gold Cup.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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As news of the postponed Olympic Games spread, Team Ireland athletes came together to demonstrate solidarity, optimism and hope. Right now, the biggest battle is not being fought in the pitches, courts and arenas, but it is the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic that has swept across the world. There are bigger things at stake, and sport is taking a back seat.

On hearing the news about the postponement, some of Ireland’s highest-profile Olympic athletes across the sports came together to send a message of support to Tokyo let by Tokyo Chef de Mission for Team Ireland, Tricia Heberle.

Published in Olympic
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Ireland's Olympic sailing and rowing teams got the date for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that are now set to start on the 23 July 2021 and run until the 8 August 2021.

This announcement was made following an IOC Executive Board meeting today.

The focus for Team Ireland – which in the sailing discipline currently includes one female Laser Radial and the prospect of two other boats in last chance qualifications is to get more boats qualified and be in a position to equal or better Rio's stunning silver medal performance by Annalise Murphy

 The Ireland rowing team is the strongest ever for the Games. Four boats have already qualified: the women's single and lightweight men's double emerged from the 2019 World Championships as gold medallists; the men's double took silver; the women's pair finished eighth overall. In addition, the women's four and the lightweight women's double will hope to join these through qualifiers.

The Opening Ceremony of the XXXII Olympic Games had been scheduled for the 24 July this year and was forced to be postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The delay of one year was agreed by the board following discussions with the Tokyo 2020 organising committee and the International Federations.

The confirmation of a date provides clarity for the Olympic Federation of Ireland who can begin work on addressing the operational adjustments that need to take place following this reschedule.

Speaking today, Chef de Mission for Team Ireland in Tokyo, Tricia Heberle welcomed the clarification of a date,

“Now the athletes have a start date for the Games, they can work with their Performance Directors and coaches to start mapping out preparations. Importantly for athletes and sport, the next information we need clarity on are any changes to qualification and the rescheduling of qualification events. This will take some time, so in the short term the focus remains the same, stay healthy and safe over the coming months.

“The priority now is for everyone to following the government guidelines to protect Ireland and the rest of the world against further spread of this virus. A July 2021 start means that we have plenty of time to reactivate preparatory plans and for athletes currently in modified training or on a break of sorts, this period of time can still allow some positive impact on performance.

“If we are smart, this enforced break can make Team Ireland even better.”

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Irish sailors seeking the last qualification places for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games will have to wait till late 2020 or early 2021 for those events to take place, according to World Sailing. 

The news follows the postponement of the Tokyo Games as Afloat reported earlier.  In response, World Sailing it will not hold Olympic qualification events for Africa, Asia or Europe in the short term.

An Irish Laser Radial has qualified for Tokyo but the fate of two other Irish boats is in last chance selection at these now rescheduled qualification events for the men's Laser and 49er dinghy respectively.

World Sailing will now work with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 on timing of the postponed Olympic Games, necessary adaptations to Games delivery plans and Olympic qualification systems.

The IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date "beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.”

World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, supports the IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee decision to ensure the health and well-being of athletes, fans and support personnel worldwide.

President Kim Andersen and the World Sailing Executive Office are in direct communication with the IOC Sports Department. The IOC is engaging with World Sailing to develop the necessary plans in full partnership and to ensure full transparency with a focus on information for World Sailing and the athletes.

In the short term, World Sailing will not hold Olympic qualification events for Africa, Asia or Europe. World Sailing is working with the IOC on an update to the qualification system where its recommendation will be to look at hosting qualifications events in late 2020 or early 2021.

World Sailing will now work with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 on the timing of the postponed Olympic Games, necessary adaptations to Games delivery plans and Olympic qualification systems.

Following the IOC decision, World Sailing is working closely with the Japanese Sailing Federation, the Organising Committee of the 2020 Hempel World Cup Series Final, and will communicate decisions on the 2021 event calendar shortly.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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This Summer's Olympic Games has been postponed to 2021, considering the current global crisis.

In a statement, the Olympic Federation of Ireland said 'Given the fast developments around the world with the Covid-19 pandemic makes this the correct decision under difficult circumstances'.

The focus for Team Ireland – which in the sailing discipline currently includes one female Laser Radial and the prospect of two other boats in last chance qualifications –  will now be on protecting and safeguarding the Irish athletes over the coming months and ensuring that they can bounce back to full training and be in peak condition for a successful Games in 2021.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland CEO, Peter Sherrard welcomed the call, acknowledging the complexities involved in postponing the Games saying, “This is the right call given the times that we are in. Nonetheless, we recognise it was a difficult call for Japan to make, and we are looking forward to working with the IOC and countries all over the world to make Tokyo 2021 a poignant moment for the whole world once these difficult times are over.”

Tokyo Chef de Mission Tricia Heberle added, “This decision, while totally appropriate, will impact on sport and our athletes in different ways, there will be mixed emotions. Our focus is to continue to engage with and support our sports as we gather as much information to determine how this will impact on both athletes who have already qualified and those who are on the path to qualification.”

The full IOC statement is here.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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The International Olympic Committee has given itself a four-week deadline to decide whether to postpone the Tokyo Olympic Games set for this summer or reduce the scale of events, amid the continuing Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

It comes after IOC president Thomas Bach was emphatic that a cancellation was not on the agenda — as the IOC backtracks on its previous confirmation, and sporting bodies believe the most likely scenario is the Games are pushed back by an entire year.

The Guardian reports that Canada has already withdrawn its Olympic teams over coronavirus concerns, and that World Athletics have written to the IOC to say holding events as planned is “neither feasible nor desirable”.

The situation has thrown every Olympic campaign into disarray, both for competitors already qualified and for the likes Irish sailors yet to secure a spot, who already face last-minute changes to the qualification process.

On Friday (20 March), in an interview with German broadcaster SWR, Thomas Bach — who is quarantined at his home office in Lausanne, Switzerland — said: “You cannot postpone Olympic Games like a soccer game to next Saturday.

“This is a very complex business, where you can only act responsibly if you have reliable and clear bases for decision-making, and we monitor this every day, 24 hours a day.”

Scuttlebutt Sailing News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Tokyo 2020

What chances has Ireland got for the last Olympic places in the Finn, 49er and men's Laser classes if qualification changes are made? 

The IOC, in their determination to maintain normality – or to return to normality as soon as possible – have issued a position update on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the potential changes to the qualification process disrupted by the spread of Covid-19.

Many sports, including sailing, have had to cancel qualifying events and the IOC has asked International Federations to consider revising the qualification process which may include ranking or historical results. For athletes planning to use the remaining events to qualify, this could mean the end of their road to Tokyo, and in some cases, the end of their careers. The negative implications of a revised qualification system have put athletes and the IOC at loggerheads, particularly as there are different restrictions on athlete training regimes across sports and countries.

It is hard to believe that the Games will run on schedule, not because of the state of play in August, but because a revised qualification system will surely end up in the Court of Arbitration for Sport when potential qualifiers feel excluded.

The IOC has declared a number of principles as follows:

  1. All quota places that have already been allocated to date remain allocated to the NOCs and athletes that obtained them.
  2. The possibility remains to use existing and scheduled qualification events, wherever these still have fair access for all athletes and teams.
  3. All necessary adaptations to qualification systems and all allocation of remaining places will be:
    a) based on on-field results (e.g. IF ranking or historical results); and
    b) reflect where possible the existing principles of the respective qualification systems (e.g. use of rankings or continental/regional specific event results).

If, as seems increasingly likely, ranking or historical results are used to determine sailing’s Olympic qualifiers, then how will Irish sailors be impacted?

Finn

Ireland is well out of the running here, both on ranking and results from the most recent Gold Cup. There is one European slot remaining, but the same six as yet to qualify countries that finished ahead of Ireland at the Gold Cup are also ahead of Ireland in the world rankings.

Laser

There are two European places yet to be won or allocated with four countries in the running – Belgium, Netherlands, Italy and Ireland. While Ireland finished behind all of these at the latest World Championships, Irish Laser Sailor Finn Lynch is ranked 13th, just one place behind the Italian. The top-ranked Belgian is 21st, while the Dutch ranking is 45th. In this case, a world ranking determination would see Ireland qualify for the Games.

49er

Ireland is vying with Belgium, Sweden and Italy for the one remaining European place. Form at the 2020 Worlds suggested that Irish sailors would be favourites having finished ahead of the other three candidates, but they are the lowest in a tightly packed group in the world rankings.

There is no doubt that no matter what option is chosen by World Sailing, the outcome will disadvantage some, benefit others, possibly leading to challenges at higher levels. Ireland may increase its representation in Tokyo, but only by one whether rankings or form is used. In this case, where the wisdom of Solomon is required, it appears the baby will end up in two parts no matter what.

Published in Tokyo 2020

The International Olympic Committee has confirmed that it continues to plan for the Olympic Games to take place in Tokyo in July this year, and that the qualification process for sports will be restructured over the coming weeks to reflect the changing environment due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Irish Olympic sailing plans for Tokyo 2020 as a consequence are also in a state of flux. With only one boat qualified for Tokyo (women's Radial), the chase is on for two further slots in the men's 49er and men's Laser classes. The final qualification regatta for the last places was slated to be in Genoa next month but that massive regatta has been cancelled. Also rescheduled is the second Irish women's trial in the Radial class due to have taken place in Mallorca.

The IOC Statement can be found here. The Olympic Federation of Ireland is working closely with its partners at the Sport Ireland Institute and the Science & Medical Commission to provide best advice to athletes in relation to training during this period. In this regard the HSE advice in relation to social distancing and risk mitigation is being followed.

Uncertainty around the qualification system has been growing for athletes globally, in light of the cancellation of most events on the calendar. The International Federations will restructure this system and aim to announce the new qualification process by early April. The sports bodies are unanimously committed to ensuring the fairest system in a difficult and changing environment is presented in April.

The IOC added that this is an unprecedented situation for the whole world, and that its thoughts are with all those affected by this crisis. At this point, following consultations with athlete representatives, world governing bodies for sport and national Olympic committees, they have reiterated that with four months to go to the games, this is not the time for drastic decisions; and that any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive.

The IOC Executive Board has set out principles establishing how they intend to respond to the rapidly moving Covid 19 pandemic based on the safety of athletes and WHO medical advice. These principles are 1) to protect the health of everyone involved and to support the containment of the virus and 2) to safeguard the interests of the athletes and of Olympic sport. The IOC also reiterated that its decisions during this time will not be determined by financial interests, because thanks to its risk management policies and insurance it will in any case be able to continue its operations and accomplish its mission to organise the Olympic Games.

The main focus at present for the IOC is to address uncertainty around athlete qualification in cooperation with the International Sports Federations which run Olympic qualification systems for each sport. Besides confirming that all qualification quota places gained by athletes to date (57%) will stand, they have also committed to working with the international federations to put in place revised qualification systems in a coordinated manner. These will consider the severe restrictions facing athletes at present, specifically in relation to qualification events, travel and training to devise systems for the fairest possible allocation of the remaining slots. The IOC has committed to providing this information in cooperation with the International Federations by early April.

This information was confirmed to the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) and Athletes’ Commission representatives in two separate teleconference calls. The OFI will now work with its partners, Sport Ireland, National Performance Directors, National Governing Bodies, and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport and sponsors to support, as best possible in the current circumstances, the athletes as they continue to work towards qualification.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Ireland's bid for two further Tokyo Olympic 2020 places will be rescheduled after the cancellation of World Sailing's World Cup Series Genoa event that was due to be held in the Italian city from 11 – 19 April 2020 due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

As Afloat reported previously, following the outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy, World Sailing has been in regular contact with the Federazione Italiana Vela (FIV), the local organisers, and the Italian Government, receiving updates and closely monitoring the situation. 

After a four year journey, Ireland is seeking the final places available in both the men's Laser dinghy and men's 49er skiff classes.

The World Sailing Board has also consulted the World Sailing Medical Commission prior to making this decision.

The decision was made to ensure the health and well-being of the sailors, support personnel, officials and volunteers, a top priority for World Sailing. 

Hundreds of sailors, however, continue to arrive on the Spanish island of Mallorca for the Trofeo Trofeo Princesa, another Olympic regatta that takes place this month.

Hempel World Cup Series Genoa was to act as the final opportunity for Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualification for African, Asian and European sailors in a number of the Olympic Sailing Events. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has granted World Sailing an extension of the qualification period to 30 June 2020.

World Sailing is now working in close collaboration with the IOC and Event Organisers to reschedule the remaining African, Asian and European Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers and to ensure that all quota places can be allocated.

Further updates on qualification events will be issued by World Sailing with formal updates applied to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Qualification System here.

Published in Tokyo 2020

All eyes are on the Italian port of Genoa as it prepares to host the important Olympic classes qualifier at the World Cup of Sailing event next month while Italy goes into a period of lockdown over Coronavirus.

This is a problem for top-level competitors from 59 nations either trying to qualify for their national team (like Ireland) or to maintain their competitive edge before the 2020 Games.

As Afloat reported yesterday, the Italian Sailing Federation has suspended all events and competitions on a national basis until April 3rd, just a week before the 1,000-competitor Genoa World Cup event gets underway.

Other international sailing fixtures scheduled for Italy in April have already been scrubbed such as the J24 Europeans Championships.

Irish Sailing’s performance squad has cancelled its planned training base in the northern Italian city and switched to Mallorca in the Balearic Islands instead but even now that might not be enough to stem the virus threat.

"If cancelled, how will the remaining European places for Tokyo 2020 be decided?"

The scheduled Genoa regatta is the final European qualification opportunity for the men’s single-handed and skiff events ahead of Tokyo 2020 and Ireland is desperately seeking those final places in both classes.

The Asian Olympic qualifier has already been switched to Genoa due to Covid-19 concerns but with that potentially affected too the question on everyone's lips is: if cancelled, how will the remaining European places for Tokyo be decided? 

And with the latest spread of the virus, it now looks like other early Summer Olympic sailing regattas will be affected too, the most affected being International championships leading up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the end of July.

These potentially include:

  • 470 World Championships, Palma, Mallorca, 13 March
  • Olympic Classes Princess Sofia Regatta, Palma, Mallorca, 27 March
  • Olympic Classes Hempel World Cup Series, Genoa, Italy, 12 April
  • America's Cup – ACWS Round 1, Cagliari, Italy, 18 April
  • 470 European Championships, Hyeres, France, 5 May
  • Finn Gold Cup, Palma, Mallorca, 8 May
  • RS:X European Championship, Athens, Greece, 10 May
  • Nacra 17, 49er, 49erFX European Championships, Malcesine, Italy, 11 May.

World Sailing says it is keeping the situation under constant review while a group of sailors have launched an online petition in the hopes of persuading World Sailing to cancel the upcoming World Cup Series event in Genoa.

The petition states: "It is irresponsible and possibly dangerous to host the Hempel Sailing World Cup in Genoa due to the risks of COVID-19. Having hundreds of sailors, coaches and staff from all over the world stay in Northern Italy and return to their home countries would undue global efforts to contain the virus. It is the responsibility of World Sailing to provide safe events for their competitors".

One of the Irish sailors seeking the last 49er berth is Ryan Seaton from Belfast. He told BBC NI news this week about travelling to Genoa:  "The experts have been keeping us up-to-date and if they say it's safe to go we will trust their opinion. If they say it's a no-go they'll have to to look at an alternative location to get the qualifier in."

Published in Tokyo 2020
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