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Update: Belfast Skiff Pair Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern Racing For Gold at Princess Sofia Regatta

1st April 2016
Gold medal hunt – Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern are leading at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma Gold medal hunt – Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern are leading at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma Photo: Jesus Renedo

Update 8pm: Belfast pair Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern now need any place in the top 8 (from 10 competitors) to secure gold tomorrow after an unassailable 27–point gap on their competitors today was cut–back when Australia secured redress in one of today's final rounds.

In an epic climax to a tough week afloat, the Northern Ireland leaders can make sure of gold tomorrow in the medal race finals. And in a further boost for Northern Ireland Olympic sailing, Royal Ulster's James Espey has extended his lead in the mens Laser in advance of the final Rio trial at the Laser world championships in May.

The 49er skiff class crew won the 15th and final race of the week to top the leaderboard in the 70-plus fleet. 

The result so far is a major international success that eclipses their own silver medal achievement at the Sailing World Cup event in Hyeres in 2014 because it is only months before the Olympic regatta itself.

The medal race final in the 49er skiff class begins at 10.15am.

Seaton and McGovern have already qualified Ireland for the Rio 2016 Olympics and scored a top ten result at the recent world championships in Florida. Their next major event is the European Championships in May.

This is no flash-in-the-pan success. Seaton, who calls Carrickfergus home, and longtime sailing partner McGovern from Bangor on the other side of the lough, have been genuine contenders in this demanding class since the buildup to the 2012 Olympics, when they emerged in the front ranks. While they're well aware that sailing conditions in Brazil will be very different from the brisk weather which helped them this week, this result is a major shot in the arm for the ISA/RYA NI campaign.

In the Irish Laser class selection trial for the single Irish place at Rio 2016, London 2012 veteran James Espey emerged best of the three contenders when he placed 53rd overall in the Silver fleet. Finn Lynch was five places behind after the ten races and is just six points behind Espey in the trials.

Fionn Lyden had two top 20 results on the final day to finish in 68th place and demonstrated clear talent during the regatta to remain a threat to the leading sailors’ Rio 2016 ambitions. The third and final event in the selection trials will be the Laser World Championships in Mexico next month.

Meanwhile, Providence Team IRL's 49erFX women’s pair Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey finished the regatta with the best result of the week in 18th place overall.


Published in Olympic Team

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