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Displaying items by tag: Tokyo 2020

Team Ireland has officially selected 13 rowers to compete across six boats at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

The Olympic rowing regatta takes place in the Sea Forest Waterway in Tokyo Bay between 23 and 30 July.

Among the Irish squad travelling to Tokyo are some of the most successful rowers on the circuit, containing multiple world and European champions and medallists.

Qualification for the Olympic Games gave Irish athletes two opportunities to claim and Olympic spot. At the World Championships in 2019, Ireland qualified four boats: the Lightweight Men’s Double Scull, Women’s Single Scull, Men’s Double Scull and the Women’s Pair, coming home with two golds and a silver medal on the way to securing their places.

At the final Olympic qualification regatta in Lucerne last month, the Women’s Four and the Lightweight Women’s Double Scull stormed home to book their ticket.

Olympic silver medallist Paul O’Donovan will be competing in his second Olympic Games, this time partnering fellow Skibbereen rower Fintan McCarthy.

Pictured are the Men’s Double Scull pair of Ronan Byrne (left) and Philip Doyle | Credit: Seb Daly/SportsfilePictured are the Men’s Double Scull pair of Ronan Byrne (left) and Philip Doyle | Credit: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Speaking on his official selection, the triple World Champion said: “The Olympic Games are a really special competition, and as a rower it is often what you are driving towards. Each Olympic games is unique in its own way, with Tokyo being no exception, and as a squad we are going into them with high ambitions.

“We have worked hard since we set our Olympic goal, and it is nice to be officially selected ahead of the final weeks of preparation. Fintan and I are ready to push on and excited about doing some racing, and we can see that our teammates are equally driven and striving for excellence.”

Team Ireland Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Tricia Heberle, said: “It is great to welcome such a large and high calibre group of Rowers to Team Ireland. We didn’t imagine that we would qualify so many crews and to have genuine medal prospects within the team is even more exciting.

“This is a day to celebrate what hard work, determination and high ambition can achieve. It is also a time to acknowledge all of the people behind the scenes, key performance support staff who every day are working with the athletes and coaches to make them better.”

The Olympic Federation of Ireland says one of the key driving forces behind the success of the Team Ireland rowers is performance director Antonio Maurogiovanni.

“This is a big moment for us, and we are going to the Olympic Games with the largest squad of Irish rowers in history and with a record number of six crews qualified,” he said.

Ireland’s Women’s Single rower in Tokyo is Sanita Puspure | Credit: Seb Daly/SportsfileIreland’s Women’s Single rower in Tokyo is Sanita Puspure | Credit: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

“I am very proud to be working with this group of athletes, coaches and administrators. Each of them has put in a considerable amount of work these past few years in preparation for Tokyo. The athletes and coaches’ dedication has shown how determined they are to represent Ireland at the highest level.

“We all must remember that the majority of this team, coaches included, is at the very first Olympic Games, which confirm the excellent job that coaches and athletes have done.

“We’re a small country, but we’ve proven we can perform and achieve alongside the world’s best. As a team, we are not just satisfied to go to the Olympics to make up numbers, but we are going with the ambitions to be as competitive as possible.”

Rowing is the first competition on the Irish schedule of events, and world champion Sanita Puspure will be the first Team Ireland athlete to compete in Tokyo 2020.

The officially selected rowers for the Olympic Games are:

Lightweight Men’s Double Scull (LM2X)

  • Fintan McCarthy (Cork)
  • Paul O’Donovan (Cork)
  • Gary O’Donovan (Cork) - Reserve

Women’s Single Scull (W1X)

  • Sanita Puspure (Cork)

Men’s Double Scull (M2X)

  • Ronan Byrne (Cork)
  • Philip Doyle (Belfast)
  • Daire Lynch (Clonmel) - Reserve

Women’s Four (W4-)

  • Emily Hegarty (Cork)
  • Fiona Murtagh (Galway)
  • Eimear Lambe (Dublin)
  • Aifric Keogh (Galway)
  • Tara Hanlon (Cork) - Reserve

Women’s Pair (W2-)

  • Monika Dukarska (Kerry)
  • Aileen Crowley (Kerry)

Lightweight Women’s Double Scull (LW2X)

  • Aoife Casey (Cork)
  • Margaret Cremen (Cork)
  • Lydia Heaphy (Cork) - Reserve
Published in Rowing
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Tokyo bound Annalise Murphy ended a tough week at Medemblik with a black flag disqualification in race eight this afternoon in her final international ILCA 6/Radial event before the Olympic regatta in less than fifty days time.

The Irish Rio silver medalist ended up 37th overall from 58 starters after an exceptionally tricky light and medium winds event on the Dutch ijsselmeer.

A similar black flag fate beset Howth Yacht Club teenager Eve McMahon who had been as high as 11th overall earlier in the series.  The Paris 2024 prospect finished top Irish sailor in 32nd overall.

McMahon's clubmate Aoife Hopkins, also campaigning for Paris was 42nd overall.

Howth's Eve McMahon was as high as 11th at the Allianz Regatta this week before finishing 32nd overall and highest place Irish finisherHowth's Eve McMahon was as high as 11th at the Allianz Regatta this week before finishing 32nd overall and highest place Irish finisher Photo: Sander van der Borch

The Medal Race line ups have been confirmed for the Allianz Regatta tomorrow in which Ireland will play no part.

Marie Barrue (FRA) has dominated the ILCA 6 all week long and also has a strong lead over the fleet. On 39 points, she is 17 points clear of Maria Erdi (HUN), and a top performance in the Medal Race will confirm gold.

Erdi is just six points ahead of the third-placed Agata Barwinska (POL). Ekaterina Zyuzina (RUS) and Marit Bouwmeester (NED) are in contention for the medals but will need to put several boats between themselves, Erdi and Barwinska to overturn the deficit.

Medal Races are scheduled to commence at 11:00 local time.

Published in Tokyo 2020

Two tough days of light, fickle breeze were replaced with 9-11 knots of breeze in Medemblik, The Netherlands as Irish interest in the Allianz Regatta's ILCA 6 fleet includes this weekend.

Howth Yacht Club teenager Eve McMahon dropped back from 11th to 23rd overnight with Tokyo bound Annalise Murphy moving up four places from 32nd to 28th overall. McMahon's club mate Aoife Hopkins is 43rd in the 58-boat fleet.

Every sailor in the ILCA 6 fleet has a high score that they are using as their discard and this has led to high-pressure situations on the racecourse, as sailors avoid making the same mistakes that could severely punish them and see them drop.

Consistency is really at a premium in the ILCA 6 fleet, but Marie Barrue of France has been doing enough all week to cling on to her lead. She is eight points clear of Dutch favourite and Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist Marit Bouwmeester (NED).

Bouwmeester had the best day on the water with a 2-4 scoreline, and the next best performer was Hungary’s Maria Erdi who moves into contention for the medals, sitting just six points off third-placed Agata Barwinska (POL).

After racing, Erdi commented, “We finally had some more breeze so we got some hiking in. It was still pretty tricky. The startline was crazy with a lot of general recalls. I was just trying to get off the line. I got in really risky spots, and I just took it from there with good starts and good speed.

“I was always rounding the top mark in the top ten. I was able to make up a few places in the first race but lost some in the second but today was a good day and I’m happy with it.”

Hempel World Cup Series – Allianz Regatta is an important event for the athletes targeting Tokyo 2020 as it’s their final opportunity to test themselves before they head to Enoshima.

Erdi knows a good performance here can set the tone come Games time. She continued, “This is our last regatta before the Games, so we really want to put things together. We’re trying to improve and see how it goes.

“We decided pretty early we were going to come here because there was not much racing anywhere. We didn’t want to arrive at the Games and think ‘ahh, so this is the startline!’ We wanted to get racing and we’re happy that everyone else followed and is here.

“I have a camp with my group at the end of this month and then we fly out to Japan on the 12th for the Games.”

The ILCA 6 fleet will sail two races on Saturday before the deciding race on Sunday.

Racing continues on Saturday 5 June from 10:30 local time.

Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

Two more Irish rowing crews have joined the four already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics this summer after this morning’s (Sunday 16 May) races in Lucerne, as The Irish Times reports.

The women’s four of Emily Hegarty, Eimear Lambe, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh led the charge in their A Final ahead of China, where as previously reported on Afloat.ie only the top two were guaranteed Olympic places.

Meanwhile, the lightweight women’s double pairing of Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen finished third behind the US and home team Switzerland to confirm their spot in Tokyo.

Elsewhere, Daire Lynch missed out on the men’s single scull final after he finished fourth in his A/B semi.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Rowing Ireland adds: 

The Irish Rowing Team qualified an additional two boats for the Olympics. There will now be six boats representing Ireland in Tokyo this summer.

The Irish crews led by High-Performance Director Antonio Maurogiovanni and Coaches Dominic Casey and Giuseppe De Vita all had strong performances over the two days. They secured the two extra Olympic boats on Sunday morning.

The Women’s Four of Emily Hegarty, Eimear Lambe, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh qualified their boat by winning the Women’s Four Final and taking one of the two available slots. The Irish crew beat crews from China, Italy, Russia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. Emily, Eimear, Aifric and Fiona dominate the race, and they finished with a time of 06:31.99. The Women’s Four will now compete in the Tokyo Olympics later this summer.

Aoife Casey and Margaret Cremen secured the Lightweight Women’s Double for the Olympics by finishing third in the Final. They fought hard throughout the race and caught the Chinese boat in the final 600 meters, and took the last Olympic Spot. Aoife and Margaret finished with a time of 07:09.22 to secure their spot for Tokyo.

Earlier in the morning, Aoife and Margaret finished second in their Semi-Final and qualified for the Final. They beat crews from China, Denmark, Greece and Brazil and finished behind the boat from the United States. Aoife and Margaret finished with a time of 07:21:23 and progressed to the Final.

Daire Lynch finished fourth in the Men’s Single Scull Semi-Final this morning. Daire faced tough competitors from Poland, Canada, Romania, Chile and Austria. Daire narrowly missed out on a place in the Final, the Romanian sculler who finished less than half a second ahead. Daire finished with a racing time of 07:05.46 after a strong performance throughout the two days.

Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni, said, “We are very proud of all of the performances from our athletes this weekend, and all seven athletes gave a brave and spirited effort in each of their races over the two days.

We are delighted that the Women’s Four and Lightweight Women’s Double qualified their boats for the Olympics this summer. All of the team performed strongly this weekend. Daire narrowly missed out on the Final and gained invaluable experience this weekend that will benefit him for Paris 2024. Margaret and Aoife have continued to grow and develop in the double, and we are delighted that they qualified for the Olympics. Congratulations to Aifric, Eimear, Fiona and Emily for qualifying the Women’s Four Boat with a strong performance in their Heat and the Final

We have six boats confirmed and qualified for Tokyo, and we continue to train and prepare for the upcoming Olympics. Having these six crews qualified at the next Tokyo Olympic Games has put Ireland in a very challenging and exciting position not just for Tokyo but also for Paris 2024. As we all know, this is also year 1 of the 2024 cycle and the current Rowing Ireland squad, if well supported, has everything to keep the fantastic momentum going.

Behind these results, there is a huge amount of systematic work of athletes, coaches, and administrators that need to be reinforced and more supported to consolidate the current level.

I want to thank all of the athletes, coaches, support staff and their clubs and families for their continued support as we continue to move forward in Irish Rowing and look forward to competing again next weekend.”

Irish Results

M1x – Daire Lynch – 4th – A/B Semi-Final

W4- Emily Hegarty, Eimear Lambe, Aifric Keogh & Fiona Murtagh – 1st -Final

LW2x – Aoife Casey & Margaret Cremen – 3rd – Final

Six Irish Boats Qualified For the Tokyo Olympics

Women’s Single Scull (W1x) – Qualified by Sanita Puspure
Lightweight Men’s Double (LM2x) – Qualified by Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy
Men’s Double (M2x) – Qualified by Ronan Byrne and Philip Doyle
Women’s Pair (W2-) – Qualified by Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley
Women’s Four (W4-) – Qualified by Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Emily Hegarty and Fiona Murtagh
Lightweight Women’s Double (LW2x) – Qualified by Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey

Published in Rowing
Tagged under

Time was when the question of whether the 2020-Olympics-in-2021 should or should not be staged would have been described as the Elephant in the Room, suggesting the presence of an imponderable so large and unthinkable that the sanity-seeking majority of the global sporting population have continued determinedly along as though it is, of course, going to happen. The ponderous pachyderm, they've said, is a figment of people's imagination.

But a small but growing minority in sport are increasingly in agreement with the fact that an international super-spreader event like the Olympics simply has to be cancelled as the world still grapples with an ever-mutating virus.

That's the balance of attitudes within the gung-ho sporting community. But within the population at large, the situation is already very different, with 90% of the general population in host country Japan being against the idea of the Games going ahead in July – just two months and one week away, to be precise – while at the more specific level, at least 40 Japanese townships, which in previous Olympiad years had generously hosted national teams, have indicated that in July 2021, such teams will no longer be welcome.

A Spreader Event of Olympic proportions…..but even if the traditional Olympic Parade is not staged in the event of the games being held in Tokyo in July, can safe distancing be maintained in a country where vaccination levels are still very low.A Spreader Event of Olympic proportions…..but even if the traditional Olympic Parade is not staged in the event of the games being held in Tokyo in July, can safe distancing be maintained in a country where vaccination levels are still very low.

The emergence of this and other gloom-inducing facts during the past week or so, such as a lowly 1% vaccination rate in Japan itself, have contributed to what appears to be a tipping point in opinion in top sporting circles. This is leading to the weary resignation of preparing for acceptance of the unthinkable – that the postponed 2020 Olympics will not happen in 2021, and thus is there any point of thinking about a third attempt at staging them in Japan in 2022, when the 2024 Paris Olympics are already thundering up the agenda?

The scenario is so unthinkable - so unreal and rumour-prone - that those of us on the outside can only grasp at straws in the wind as to how things are going in the real decision-making centres. And for long enough, as the majority of us clung to the hope that the Games would go ahead - albeit in very shrunken relatively spectator-less settings – each little indicator that suggested things were on track was hopefully added to our viewpoint.

But in doing so, we were ignoring the sheer vastness, the extremely spread-out nature, and the very lengthy time-span of the modern Olympics. Even in the most normal of times, the potential for some section of the games to come off the rails is ever-present. So heaven alone knows what twists of disease and other trouble might unravel in the extreme heat of 2021 Tokyo in high summer, when hysteria can run amok.

When Ireland first sailed in a Japanese Olympics in 1964, the racing was staged in October when the intense summer heat had eased. This year's regatta is planned here at Enoshima in July, a bit cooler than the main centre of Tokyo nearby, but still making a period of acclimatisation for Irish sailors highly desirable.When Ireland first sailed in a Japanese Olympics in 1964, the racing was staged in October when the intense summer heat had eased. This year's regatta is planned here at Enoshima in July, a bit cooler than the main centre of Tokyo nearby, but still making a period of acclimatisation for Irish sailors highly desirable.

The two factors that seemed to put us through the tipping point this past week have been the Japanese townships' declining of the opportunity to host teams – for that was something very specific as opposed to the vagueness of a national opinion poll – and the outcome of an announcement last week, that this week would be seeing all national teams receiving their first jab of the Pfizer vaccine if they hadn't already got it, or were on some other vaccination.

The Pfizer seems to have emerged as the Gold Standard, as it provides 95% immunity whereas some of the "workhorse" vaxes, while still effective, give significantly less protection. But anecdotal evidence from personal experiences suggests that the two-part Pfizer super-jab leaves you in no doubt whatever that your body has been put through quite a major biochemical experience.

There's a four week gap between the two Pfizer injections, and a full return to feelings of normality shouldn't really be expected until about a fortnight after the second jab, though the latest research suggests that you'll have achieved virtually full immunity one week after Jab Two.

Full immunity and a feeling of general well-being are two very different psycho-physical states, and thus it's realistic to think that an Olympic athlete receiving the full Pfizer treatment would need to have a clear eight week period after the first jab, before they could hope to return to that very finely-tuned condition which is optimal performance preparedness, and has more physical and mental components than you'd think possible.

Thus when the announcement came last week that agreement had been reached for all un-vaccinated Olympians to begin the Pfizer course this week, with the response coming that Olympic medical teams were ready and able for the administration, it gave us small grounds for added optimism. For this proposed schedule was just within the time-frame for the full post-vaccination recovery of the athletes by the time the Games began to take shape.

Team Dickson/Waddilove performing at peak. To achieve this level of fitness, an athlete would need to be as far post-vaccine as possible.   Team Dickson/Waddilove performing at peak. To achieve this level of fitness, an athlete would need to be as far post-vaccine as possible.  

But so far this week we've not been able to confirm any evidence at all that the widely-welcomed vaccination programme for the Olympians has gone ahead, and that apparent non-event - in addition to the Japanese townships' "Not Welcome" announcements - suggest we're in a domino-effect continuum, at the end of which we'll find the cancellation of the 2021 Olympics.

That said, much of the athletic preparation towards the postponed Games has been done under the radar, and it could well be that it's official Olympic management policy not to reveal that a vaccination programme is under way at the moment until it is successfully completed, for fear of arousing some unpleasant protests from career begrudgers about the Olympians receiving elite treatment when the world is crying out for vaccination.

Most reasonable folk would strongly support the view that Olympic athletes – a very tiny minority – have done so much to inspire the rest of us, cheering us up generally through two winters of gloom, that they should as a matter of course have been among the primary groups for vaccination.

For sure, the real heroes deserving immediate vaccination have been the frontline health workers. But it's almost impossible to over-estimate the psychological benefits which those able to continue successfully with their sport have gifted to the rest of us. And while the unique nature of our sport has meant that quite a bit of in-Ireland sailing has been possible in pandemic gaps, it is the Irish sailing breakthroughs at a restricted international level that have been the brightest lights in the general gloom.

It was as recently as mid-March that the Afloat.ie Editorial Team were having a conversation with renowned coach Tytus Konarzewski about the chances of the "Fingal Flyers" 49er team – Rob Dickson of Howth and Sam Waddilove of Skerries - making it past the final stages of Olympic selection – the last chance saloon - at Lanzarote at the end of the month.

The hugely experienced Konarzewski has seen and done it all, and comfortably takes the long view. When he started coaching with Dickson & Waddilove, it was with the long count-down to the 2024 Olympics in mind. But didn't the boys go and spoil it all by winning the U23 49er Worlds at Marseille in September 2018?

This not only made them the Afloat.ie Sailors of the Year 2018, but also saw them yanked by the powers-that-be out of their buildup programme towards 2024, and pushed instead into the main road towards Tokyo 2020, while the highly-regarded Konarzewski was let go.

The Sage of Successful Sailing – renowned coach Tytus Konarzewski in thoughtful observational mode on Dublin Bay. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien   The Sage of Successful Sailing – renowned coach Tytus Konarzewski in thoughtful observational mode on Dublin Bay. Photo: Afloat.ie/David O'Brien  

It was an arguably unhealthy development in terms of campaign planning, but where others then came to see the postponement of the 2020 Olympics as a problem in the latter stages of securing the 49er slot in 2021, Dickson & Waddilove saw it as an opportunity to up their game, and as the final selection races came over the horizon, they were in a new place in terms of performance and potential.

Nevertheless, in that mid-March conversation with the great Tytus, there was still a huge element of the "what ifs" about the permutations which could make the breakthrough possible. And in the actual event when the pressure was palpable, the burden on the two young sailors was inescapable. Yet they managed it with the medal race to spare. And with the pressure off, their carefree performance of brilliance in the final race to leave so many top sailors behind them simply adds to our hopes that the 2021 Sailing Olympics at Enoshima will somehow take place.

The Fingal Flyers qualify for the Olympics – Sam Waddilove of Skerries and Rob Dickson of Howth in Lanzarote, with Rob wearing his lucky hat which reminded everyone of………The Fingal Flyers qualify for the Olympics – Sam Waddilove of Skerries and Rob Dickson of Howth in Lanzarote, with Rob wearing his lucky hat which reminded everyone of………

…..the sailing headgear which was the trademark of his famous grandfather Roy Dickson, seen here at the helm of his Corby 40 Cracklin Rosie at the start of the 1997 Fastnet Race. Photo: W M Nixon…..the sailing headgear which was the trademark of his famous grandfather Roy Dickson, seen here at the helm of his Corby 40 Cracklin Rosie at the start of the 1997 Fastnet Race. Photo: W M Nixon

Not least of the pleasures in their success in Lanzarote was that Rob Dickson took part in a post-race interview in his new "lucky hat", which fondly reminded all those who knew of it of the similar hat which was the trademark headgear of his legendary sailing grandfather, the late Roy Dickson.

This in turn reminds us that at its best, Irish sailing is just one great big family affair, even if it often involves putting an extremely broad meaning on what "family" signifies. But whatever it is, it's good. And while we hope very dearly indeed that our reading of the rules about the staging or not of the 2021 version of the 2020 Olympics proves to be wrong, should it be right we can only point to the next suitable date as being 24th July 2022.

Published in W M Nixon

As the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) confirms its third athlete for Tokyo 2020 last week, Annalise Murphy, who was nominated for the team 11 months ago is still awaiting official OFI selection.

Murphy was nominated by Irish Sailing in controversial circumstances when trials were cut short cut in June 2020.

One of the reasons given for the termination of the trial then was that "by nominating her now the Irish Sailing Board have ensured that team preparations can move focus to the Olympics".

Nearly, a year later, however, there is still no ratification of the silver medalist's place even though other athletes have been confirmed.

Afloat enquiries to the OFI back in February were told: "she has been nominated for the spot by her National Federation but not officially selected yet, so the next step is once the OFI convene and all the protocol has been satisfied, she can be considered for official selection".

Flyweight boxer Brendan Irvine was officially selected to represent Team Ireland at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer last week.

The Rio Olympian from Belfast secured his Olympic berth at the European Olympic boxing qualifier in London in March 2020, shortly before the event was postponed. 

This is the third official Team Ireland Tokyo team announcement, and currently, Team Ireland has achieved 65 quota spots across thirteen sports, with many athletes and sports at various stages on that qualification journey. 

Twenty-four-year-old Irvine joins Canoe Slalom racer Liam Jegou and Jack Woolley from Taekwondo as officially selected Team Ireland members for the Games which run from the 23rd July to 8th August.

Irish Sailing Team manager James O'Callaghan told Afloat that the pandemic has delayed the process of a sailing team announcement. "It's going to happen shortly we've just not been able to coordinate a date that suits OFI, Radial team and 49er team as they've been busy in prep. It will be announced very soon". 

Ireland's 2016 sailing star is currently focusing on training in Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and Vilamoura in Portugal as she turns her attention to the Olympic Regatta on Enoshima Bay in two months time.

Published in Tokyo 2020

Joan Cardona has won the Tokyo 2020 European Continental Qualifier for Spain at the Finn Gold Cup in Porto.

In the end, it came down to a battle between him and Nenad Bugarin, from Croatia.

Ireland was hoping to take a place though Donaghdee campaigner Oisin McClelland who finished the regatta 31st, his best individual score this week being an 11th in race eight.

Cardona said, “It was super tight. He was very good all through the championship and we had a great battle. We are good friends, we train together and it was great to be so close on the water.

“Today was quite difficult, super tricky out there and we had some rain, and it was not easy, but I managed to have a good day overall and get the spot for Spain, so I am very happy. I think we were well prepared. We worked very hard as a team and I really hope the best is yet to come in Tokyo. And I will give my best for that.

“For the moment, we have qualified the country but we don’t know who is going to the Olympics so it would be great if I would be selected. It’s a dream come true. I always said my dream was to win a medal, but first you have to go to the Olympics. So this is a very good step.”

The Finn Gold Cup remains New Zealand’s Cup as Andy Maloney sweeps to victory in Porto

It took more than 60 years for a New Zealand sailor to win the Finn Gold Cup, and now two have come along in a row. Andy Maloney has led the 2021 Finn Gold Cup since Day 1 and on Wednesday, though he briefly lost the lead, did just enough to take the cup from his teammate Josh Junior, who was the first-ever Kiwi to win the Cup in 2019.

Cardona, from Spain, took the silver, while Junior took the bronze. Leo Davis also qualified South Africa for Tokyo in the African Continental Qualifier. Race wins went to Deniss Karpak, from Estonia, Jake Lilley, from Australia and Nicholas Heiner, from The Netherlands.

The racing was again held over huge waves and constant wind shifts. A rainstorm in the opening race mixed the fleet and kept everyone guessing. Karpak held a huge lead at the top mark after skirting round the cloud on the right and was never headed. In the second race, the skies had cleared and, determined to make amends, Lilley found the front and took a well deserved win. The final race was more tricky with several lead changes, but Heiner took the lead on the final leg to win.

The bigger interest was behind him with most sailors picking up some high scores all day to leave a very tight scoreboard. Maloney was in the front at the top mark, and a tricky final beat dropped him to sixth, but he was still ahead of the other contenders, to take the Finn Gold Cup. Junior had also dropped a few places, and had to settle for the bronze.

Maloney, “It was a good week for both of us and cool to both be on the podium. It’s a shame that the Spanish managed to get between us but it’s a really cool feeling to have both of us on the podium.

“We are confident with what we are doing and when we got here it was nice to see we still had some pace and we sailed reasonably well this week and stayed near the front.”

On the final day’s racing, “Similar to yesterday, that first race was influenced by the rain clouds. Both Josh and myself got it quite wrong. So we had our work cut out for us, but we fought back pretty well to still get a reasonable score. But we definitely had to switch our heads back in the game for the last two races.”

They recovered from the mid 30s up to top 15 for a keeper each.

Junior paid tribute to his teammate, “It’s awesome to see Andy win the world championship. I was lucky enough to win it last time, and it’s cool that Andy had backed it up and kept it in New Zealand. I’m stoked for him.”

Maloney continued, “The fleet here was highly competitive, and everyone was sailing really well. For Josh and I to manage to be at the front of the fleet in these super tricky conditions that we had this week feels extra special.”

Junior concluded, “As usual, the Finn fleet is super close. You can see that in the points and people are up and down and it’s just about not getting any big ones. It was a really close week and we just managed to do enough be out in front. We are so stoked where we are at and can’t wait to keep pushing forwards.

“From here we just keep working together, stick to the plan we had and the person who goes to the Games will hopefully be better than what we are now.”

Junior was the first to congratulate Maloney after the win and the pair have already decided that whoever is not selected will coach the other at the Olympics, so this is a team effort like no other.

Published in Tokyo 2020

The Toyko 2020 European Continental qualifier at the Finn Gold Cup in Porto is heading for a nail-biting conclusion with four sailors inside the top ten.

Spain’s Joan Cardona is fourth, but just six points ahead of Croatia’s Nenad Bugarin, while the European bronze medalist, Nils Theuninck from Switzerland, is in ninth place, a further 17 points back. However it is a long way from being over.

Ireland is also vying for a Tokyo place but after a difficult start to the event with two lost days so far, Donaghdee's Oisin McClelland is lying 31st in the 52-boat fleet.

Three races are possible on Wednesday and the forecast indicates a good day of sailing is on the cards. Both Maloney and Junior have heavier discards than Berecz, but with three races, the championship is still wide open.

Racing is scheduled to commence at 11.00 local time.

Results after Day 4

1 NZL 61 Andy Maloney 18
2 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 23
3 NZL 24 Josh Junior 28
4 ESP 26 Joan Cardona 29
5 CRO 10 Nenad Bugarin 35
6 GBR 41 Giles Scott 43
7 USA 91 Luke Muller 44
8 ESP 17 Pablo Guitián Sarria 46
9 SUI 1 Nils Theuninck 52
10 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 56

Full results here: https://proregatta.com/events/162/

Published in Tokyo 2020

81 470s from 25 countries (but not Ireland) will be competing from 30 April to 7 May in the men's, women's and the new mixed fleets for the respective European Champion titles in Vilamoura, Portugal.

34 out of the 40 Tokyo Olympic teams are racing in the men’s and women’s championships, along with a very strong mixed fleet in the first-ever Mixed 470 European Championship held by the Class.

International 470 Class President Andreas Kosmatopoulos commented: “Our European Championships are the last major event before the Olympic sailors head off to Enoshima, but we are far from over since Italy will host the Junior World and the Junior European Championships plus the Master's Cup in July and August. With the great support of Vilamoura Sailing in the last three months, we have managed to keep 470 competition alive against the odds by running the 470 World Championships, Warm-up and coaches' regattas and taking part in the Vilamoura Grand Prix series.

The competition is on a very high level and as we are in the final turn on the road to the Tokyo Olympic Games, the teams are eager to close their campaigns by winning the prestigious European titles”

Follow the championship here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Ireland can only look to the future and Paris 2024 - just three years away - for its next chance to compete in the men's singlehanded Laser class following Finn Lynch's failure to qualify Ireland in the Laser event for Tokyo 2020 this week at the Vilamoura International Championships.

Spain and The Netherlands won the two Olympic nation places for Tokyo, with Ireland finishing ninth in the country qualification stakes.

Lynch completed the event in 33rd place overall following a 14th and 42nd places for the day. 

Germany’s Philipp Buhl as reigning world champion delivered a thrilling finish to the series, beating Brazil’s five-times Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt by a single point in the final race.

Ewan McMahon from Howth YC improved to 48th overall with a 23rd and 55th for the day. Liam McGlynn of Ballyholme YC also picked up places to 56th in the 70-boat Gold fleet.

In the Men’s event Silver fleet, newcomers to Senior level racing Tom Higgins and Hugo Kennedy, both of the Royal St. George YC in Dun Laoghaire placed 46th and 62nd respectively.

Full results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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