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Annalise Murphy in Bronze Position, Prepares for Monday's Medal Race

14th August 2016
Irish Olympic Sailing News
Annalise Murphy sailed superbly to score a sixth and seventh to put her just two points behind Anne Marie Rindom in the Silver medal position Annalise Murphy sailed superbly to score a sixth and seventh to put her just two points behind Anne Marie Rindom in the Silver medal position Photo: World Sailing

In the final race of the Laser Radial qualification series, prior to Monday's medal race, Annalise Murphy finished seventh to complete the preliminaries in the bronze medal position. It is an excellent performance in difficult conditions by the National Yacht Club sailor with a string of very consistent results of 1, 13, 4, 7, 5, 2, (17), 12, 6, 7 in the 37–boat fleet. 

But even with such a scoresheet a medal is not yet guaranteed. All Murphy's main rivals finished ahead of her in race ten and regatta leader Marit Bouwmeester (NED), who finished the race in second place, now has an 8 point gap over second placed Annemarie Rindom (DEN) going into the medal race.

Rindom's third place in this race, allowed her to leapfrog Murphy by two points, while another big gain was made by Belgium's Evi Van Acker who narrowed the gap to Murphy to 9 points.

Starting at the pin end of race ten, Murphy was third around the first weather mark and, like Bouwmeester favoured the right hand side of the run to round the bottom mark in fourth place. However, her chosen left side was not the place to be on the next upwind leg and, despite the full hiking conditions, she fell back in to the pack, rounding the 2nd weather mark in eighth place. Up ahead the Dutch girl maintained second behind Alison Young (GBR) thus widening the gap between herself and Murphy in overall points. The downwind saw the Irish girl lose a further four places, but a hike out to the right on the last upwind prompted a small recovery to 10th, consolidated on the final run, with a further three places gained by the finish line.

Read also: Annalise's Medal Race Possibilities

Bouwmeester has moved back to the top of the leaderboard and holds a useful eight-point buffer on second placed Rindom for the Medal Race. The London 2012 silver medallist is assured of another medal and is strongly positioned to win the gold that was so nearly hers four years ago.

The Laser Radials contested one race on the Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) course and one on Niterói, and Bouwmeester proved very adaptable to the different conditions, scoring 5,2. Murphy also sailed superbly to score a sixth and seventh which puts her just two points behind Rindom. However best performer of the day was Evi Van Acker (BEL) whose first and fifth has brought her back into medal contention after a shaky start to the regatta, compounded by the effects of an intestinal infection. She and fifth-placed Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) will have to sail a very good Medal Race to have a chance at silver or bronze, but it's possible.

For Bouwmeester the Olympic Medal Race is familiar territory, after taking silver in the tightest of contests four years ago in London. "I think this time the difference is I have a few points on second and I'm certain of a medal, but the similarity is I still have to do a good Medal Race on Monday. We like the Medal Race course, it's challenging, but I'm quite confident there even though you never quite know what's going to happen on that course."

Evi van Acker was looking forward to another period of rest before Monday's showdown. "I still need to rest, after today. I'm pretty tired. I had my best day so far, and I'm so happy with the way I recovered after the bad three days at the beginning. For me the 36 hours of treatment and rest in the middle of the week was very important to have more energy and keep fighting. I made sure I had a lot of rest, a lot of food and a lot of smiling."

The bronze medallist from 2012 will have to fight hard and sail well to be assured of another medal in Rio. "It feels like London all over again, pretty much the same people and same situation except this this time I'm a bit behind. So I'll have to sail well in the Medal Race. But I'll be ready to go."

Meanwhile, China’s Lijia Xu was disqualified from races seven and eight for ‘right of way’ incidents. The pre-event favourite had already discarded a disqualification earlier in the series meaning she had to count two maximum scores for Friday’s races. She ends the series in 18th overall and will not be in the medal race on Monday.

Published in Olympic

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