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Displaying items by tag: 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

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 due to the risks of COVID-19, particularly in Northern Italy.

Calling themselves Sailors Against Coronavirus, the group — apparently based in Spain — argues that it is “irresponsible and possibly dangerous to host the Hempel Sailing World Cup in Genoa due to the risks of COVID-19”.

They add: “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. Many sailing federations are required compete in Genoa to qualify for the Olympics, which forces them to decide between their safety and a chance to compete at the Olympic Games.

“World Sailing should make the responsible decision to cancel the event and chose a safer location for final Olympic qualifications.”

The Hempel Sailing World Cup Series event in Genoa is scheduled to start on Saturday 11 April and is the last chance for Irish sailors to claim a spot at Tokyo 2020.

The countdown is on for three Northern Ireland sailors campaigning for their place at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in late July this year, writes Betty Armstrong.

The athletes, who have been training for over four years, as part of their Olympic campaigns, will take to the waters on 11 April to battle it out at the nine-day qualifying competition in Genoa.

In the running is two-time Olympian and World Cup silver medallist Ryan Seaton, from Carrickfergus. Seaton paired up with new crew Seafra Guilfoyle from Cork in the 49er class, following his 10th place finish with Matt McGovern at Rio in 2016.

McGovern is now coach to the Irish 49er teams, all vying for an Olympic place.

Ryan and Seafra finished 10th at the Olympic Test event in Enoshima and recently finished 30th at the 2020 World Championships. They are embarking on a critical training phase in the lead up to the Olympic qualifier and subsequent European Championships in May.

Seaton comments: “Seafra and I have been training well and putting critical elements of speed and boat handling together over this winter period. Our focus has been to get more race practice and working under pressure to refine our performances and add consistency to a regatta week.”

Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle in action at the 49er Worlds in Australia last month (Photo: Jesus Renedo/Sailing Energy)Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle in action at the 49er Worlds in Australia last month | Photo: Jesus Renedo/Sailing Energy

The Finn is a dinghy not normally associated with Donaghadee Sailing Club, but DSC member Oisin McClelland is another contender.

Campaigning in the men’s heavyweight Finn class since 2015, McClelland has secured several top 32 World and European finishes. In January he finished fourth in the Miami World Cup Series event, just narrowly missing out on a bronze medal.

He says: “Really nailing down all elements that make up a successful Olympic campaign was definitely difficult at the start but over time I have been able to get consistent and make big improvements.”

Ballyholme’s Liam Glynn is also gearing up for the challenge in Genoa. Rising through the youth and U21 ranks, he has secured a world junior title and U21 bronze along the way and recently achieved a personal best finish in the Laser at the recent World Championships in Australia.

As part of the Irish Performance Laser squad, the Bangor sailor has been training hard, with a typical day including up to six hours of training, looking at racing skills and focusing on nutrition and recovery.

Commenting on his Olympic campaign so far, Glynn says: “I am motivated by my love of the sport, the feeling when you are in the zone and perfecting your technique and strategy amongst the best sailors in the world.”

Liam Glynn recently scored a personal best result in the LaserLiam Glynn recently scored a personal best result in the Laser

All three sailors graduated through the RYA Northern Ireland’s Performance Pathway and are funded through Sport Northern Ireland. Seaton and Glynn are members of the Irish Performance Team.

In sailing, nations can qualify in 10 Olympic disciplines but just one boat is eventually selected to represent each nation in each discipline.

For the NI athletes, their last chance for a European place in the Finn, Laser and 49er fleets is up for grabs at the Sailing World Cup next month.

RYA Northern Ireland’s chief operating officer Richard Honeyford, is looking forward to supporting the sailors as they make their final preparations.

“For all three boats the focus is now on one event in April and for the final chance to secure their place at Tokyo 2020,” he says. “All three have worked extremely hard during this Olympic cycle, with vast amounts of training, competing and travel to achieve their goal.

“At RYA Northern Ireland we are proud of how well they have applied themselves and their inspirational role as ambassadors for sailing in Northern Ireland.

“We look forward to the sailing community supporting them as they undertake this final challenge for Olympic qualification.”

Published in Tokyo 2020

This weekend's RYA Dinghy Show was opened by members of the British Olympic Sailing Team including Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club who will be competing in the 2020 Tokyo Games this summer.

Alexandra Palace, London, has transformed into a dinghy sailing paradise and the theme is ‘World of opportunity-see where dinghy sailing can take you’.

Tidey, who sailed for Ireland in Rio but switched to Team GB for Tokyo because of lack of opportunity in Ireland, recently finished second at the 49erFX World Championships with partner Charlotte Dobson from Scotland.

Tidey's fellow Olympian Sarah Ayton commented on the show: “We’re really excited to officially launch the 2020 show - the atmosphere is already fantastic! It always amazes me the range of boats here, all the things you can buy. We’ve also got a whole line up of brilliant speakers so this weekend, come and escape the rain and enjoy a day out here at the Dinghy Show!”

Dinghy ShowThe Dinghy Show in full swing

Visitors of all ages are able to enjoy family-friendly show favourites including the 360° ‘On the Water’ VR experience, sailing simulators and the model boat pool. You’ll also find a brand new line up of expert speakers across three stages

If you haven’t already got your ticket, weekend (£24) tickets are available to buy on the door. The show is open from 10:00 - 18:00 10:00 - 17:00 on Sunday 01 March.

Published in RYA Northern Ireland

The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) will fly athletes, including rowers, canoeists and sailors, in business class to the Olympic Games in Tokyo. With less than five months left until the Opening Ceremony in Tokyo, the composition of Team Ireland is starting to take real shape.

Qatar Airways, who will fly the team, has a 5-star rating by Skytrax, which also awarded the airline World’s Best Business Class

Athletes will benefit from full lie flat beds and catering to suit their nutritional routine. The mood lighting in the cabin will help adjust athletes’ body clocks to the Tokyo time zone and the cabin is pressurized to a lower altitude which equates to more oxygen and less travel and fatigue.

Speaking today, Sarah Keane, President of the Olympic Federation of Ireland said,

“We as a board and executive really want to give our athletes every opportunity to arrive in Tokyo rested and ready for what for many will be the most important competition of their lives. This is their time, and we are proud to support them with business class travel amongst other things.”

Olympic Federation of Ireland CEO Peter Sherrard said,

“For the first time, we are able to provide business class travel for our athletes, and the upgrade is thanks to the support of our sponsors, FBD, and partners Indeed and Circle K. Our shared goal is to do everything in our power to enhance the performances of our athletes.

“While we would like to be able to provide the same for the support staff, everyone on Team Ireland agrees that our priority needs to be the athletes who will be competing to represent the whole country at Tokyo 2020.”

The OFI has also teamed up with Vita to offset the carbon emissions involved with travelling to Tokyo and will make a contribution of €10,000 to support their work. Vita is a next generation Irish overseas development agency working in Africa. Their innovative programmes transform lives of women and their families in Africa by providing food security as well as access to clean water and clean cooking, while also, generating carbon emissions savings that are sold as certified carbon offsets. 

CEO of Vita, John Weakliam said,

“We are very proud that Team Ireland has chosen Vita to collaborate with on climate action. By offsetting their travel with us, the Olympic Federation of Ireland is supporting some of the world’s most disadvantaged families while demonstrating the importance of flying responsibly.”

To date Team Ireland has made one official team announcement – with Liam Jegou competing in the Canoe Slalom in Tokyo. Further team announcements will be made in the coming months once final rankings, selections and nominations have been completed by athletes and sports.

Published in Olympic

It was a case of Rio medallists showing their form after two more races at the ILCA Laser Radial Women’s World Championship in Melbourne, Australia. The National Yacht Club’s Rio silver medallist Annalise Murphy recorded single digit (9,7) results to lie 10th overall. Fellow Rio podium mates, gold and bronze medallists Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) top the leader board as the fleet splits for the final stages.

Aoife Hopkins (Howth YC) is 30th after a 20th and 21st, but it is silver fleet for the other two Irish contenders. Aisling Keller (Lough Derg YC) now lies 60th following 24th and 29th place finishes, while Eve McMahon (Howth YC) is in 67th scoring 30th and 37th today.

Racing got under way just after the scheduled starting time in a fresh southerly breeze, dying somewhat in race 2 and not allowing for a scheduled third race.

Organisers have scheduled earlier starts for Thursday and Friday’s gold and silver fleets with three back to back races in an attempt to make up for lost races.

Overall results are here.

Published in Tokyo 2020

Dublin teenager Eve McMahon's bid for the Tokyo Olympics got a boost today when she finished top of four Irish girls competing in the opening day of the Laser Radial World Championships in Melbourne.

Light and flukey winds frustrated competitors and race officials alike, allowing for only one of the scheduled two races on Port Philip Bay.

McMahon (HYC) was best of the Irish finishing 20th in the yellow fleet, ahead of Aoife Hopkins (HYC) in 45th place. In the Blue fleet, Annalise Murphy (NYC) recorded a 38th place, while Aisling Keller (LDYC) came 42nd. Read Afloat's championship preview here.

Defending titleholder Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) took first place in Yellow Fleet while Marie Barrue (FRA) won Blue Fleet.

“It was a bit light,” Anne-Marie said of the conditions. “The change didn’t really come through.” But 12 races are scheduled for the regatta. “It’s early days, but it’s a good way to start,” she added.

Yellow Fleet had the better of the weather, getting away shortly after the scheduled start time in six knots of breeze and managing to finish before the wind began swinging wildly.

Those in Blue Fleet had a frustrating day, with their race abandoned at the first mark owing to a 30-degree shift. It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good and Australian Olympic hopeful, Mara Stransky, said she was caught too far left in a poor position when the abandonment came. She regrouped and finished the re-started race in fifth position. “I’m happy after such a whacky day,” she said.

Olympic champion, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) finished in third place in Blue Fleet and described it as ‘OK’. “It’s a nice way to start the event,” she said. “The race committee had a challenging day with all the wind shifts, but it’s good to get one race in, to get the regatta started.”

Maud Jayet (SUI) and Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE) share third place overall after finishing second in their respective fleets.

The ILCA Laser Radial Men’s World Championship is being sailed at the same venue, with the fleet dominated by Australians. But it was a Russian, Daniil Krutskikh, who won today’s race, followed by locals Michael Compton and Jordan Makin.

Like the women’s Blue Fleet, the men had several re-starts and abandonments before getting their first race off, and completed.

With light winds forecast for tomorrow morning, the race committee has announced a first signal be at 2 pm, as scheduled. If the winds settle as forecast, they will try to get three races sailed to get the regatta back on schedule.

Provisional Results after Day 1

Laser Radial Women’s Worlds
1 – Marie BARRUE (FRA) 1
1 – Anne-Marie RINDOM (DEN) 1
3 – Maud JAYET (SUI) 2
3 – Vasileia KARACHALIOU (GRE) 2
5 – Marit BOUWMEESTER (NED) 3
5 – Svenja WEGER (GER) 3
7 – Mirthe AKKERMAN (NED) 4
7 – Marie BOLOU (FRA) 4
9 – Sarah DOUGLAS (CAN) 5
9 – Mara STRANSKY (AUS) 5

Published in Eve McMahon
Tagged under

In her latest column for The Irish Times, athletics great Sonia O’Sullivan meets the four women in contention for Ireland’s sole Laser Radial spot at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

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.

But this time there is tough competition from three women who were still coming up when she was racing for that medal in Rio — namely Aisling Keller, Aoife Hopkins and 15-year-old Eve McMahon.

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.

The Irish Times has more HERE.

Published in Olympic

Canoe Slalom racer Liam Jegou has become the first Team Ireland athlete to be selected for the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer. Originally from Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, the France-based Jegou has already stamped his mark on the international stage, winning silver in the 2014 Junior World Championships and bronze in the 2019 U23 World Championships. The 24-year-old will compete in the C1 category at the Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre in Tokyo from the 26-27 July 2020.

 Jegou is the second Irish athlete ever to compete in the C1 Canoe Slalom at the Olympic Games, with the only other athlete being Mike Corcoran, who last competed in Atlanta 1996, the year in which Jegou was born.

 Jegou said he was intent on seizing his opportunity in Tokyo. “Being an Olympian has always been one of my biggest dreams. I started training when I was 11 or 12, the past month has been unbelievable knowing that I am going to compete for Team Ireland in the Olympics.

 “In my sport the Olympics is everything, it’s what everyone works for in their sport. It’s such a select thing; there’s only one athlete per nation that gets to go and when you to go you just want to give it your all. Most people only get to go to the Games once or twice in their lives, and I’m certainly not going to let the opportunity pass me.”

 Olympic Federation of Ireland Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Tricia Heberle said: “It’s very exciting, this is our first athlete to be approved as part of Team Ireland for the 2020 Olympics – it’s great for the sport and great for Liam.

 “There is a tremendous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to support sports and our athletes to qualify and perform at the Games. It’s a real team effort with our National Federations, the Sport Ireland Institute and a range of other support groups working together with the athletes as our priority. Liam has his own story and we are so pleased to be supporting the next chapter in his journey as he prepares for the Tokyo Olympic Games.”

 Canoeing Ireland Performance Director Jon Mackey described the significance of this for his sport: It’s big for any sport to qualify for an Olympic Games. For canoeing, it’s great for the exposure of the sport, we are relatively small, and it’s great to tap into the proud tradition of Irish canoeing at the Olympic Games.”

 Jegou was nominated for the 2020 slot after finishing on top in the three-race selection criteria, which included the World Championships in Spain, the event in which Ireland qualified the coveted Olympic berth courtesy of Robert Hendrick.

 The difference between C1 and K1 in Canoeing is that the C1 category involves the athletes using a single-bladed paddle to propel the boat forward while kneeling in the canoe. The K1 athlete is seated and uses a double bladed paddle. C1 Canoe Slalom has been on the Olympic programme since 1992 as a men’s event, and 2020 is the first year that a C1 women’s event is included, in the IOC move towards a gender-balanced games. 

 Ireland has a rich history in K1 Canoe Slalom, with Ian Wiley and Eoin Rheinisch competing in the event for three Olympic Games each between 1992 and 2012. Eadaoin Ní Challarain was the first Irish female canoe slalom racer, competing in the K1 in 2000 and 2004, and in London 2012 Hannah Craig raced in this event also.

 This is the first official Team Ireland Tokyo team announcement. Many sports have ongoing selections and competitions with team announcements expected to come more frequently as we approach the summer, with the final announcement scheduled for the beginning of July. 

Published in Canoeing

The National Yacht Club’s Finn Lynch, supported by Viking Marine, rounded off the 2020 Laser World Championship qualifying series with a 7th and a 20th, discarding the latter, to qualify for the 42 boat gold fleet in 22nd place.

Compatriot Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club improved his overall position by 13 places to lie 63rd and will complete in the silver fleet. Belfast Lough's Liam Glynn in 73rd place also sails in the silver fleet.

The six-race final series runs Friday through Sunday, two races per day.

Results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under
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