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49er Sailor Matt McGovern Announces Olympic Retirement

7th February 2018
Matt McGovern (right) and Ryan Seaton in their 49er skiff Matt McGovern (right) and Ryan Seaton in their 49er skiff Photo: Pierick Jeannoutot

Two time Sailing Olympian Matt McGovern (34) from Belfast Lough has abandoned plans for his third sailing Olympics at Tokyo 2020 and announced his retirement.

Teamed with Carrickfergus helmsman Ryan Seaton for London and Rio, the pair became Ireland’s most successful skiff duo in the Olympic 49er dinghy.

The Northern Ireland pair split after 2016 and shortly after both announced separate campaigns for Tokyo. In January last year, McGovern launched a 49er campaign with 2013 Laser youth champion Robbie Gilmore and the pair spent 2017 on the international circuit. Four Irish 49er campaigns were competing for the single place in Tokyo last season.

From 2009 to 2016, Seaton and McGovern counted World Cup medals, European regatta wins and Olympic race wins in London 2012 as well as making the Olympic medal race final in Rio 2016

James O’Callaghan Irish Sailing’s Performance Director adds: “From day one Matt was a bundle of energy and enthusiasm. Eighteen years on, no change. His approach, results and outlook are an excellent guide to the next generation".