Ireland’s Ewan McMahon (Howth, Co. Dublin) and Finn Lynch (Bennekerry Co. Carlow) made the Gold fleet for the top 52 competitors at the Laser World Championship in Japan that is an important qualification event for next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Six races over the coming three days will decide the finals standings and the next five nations to be included on the Laser Olympic start line next year.
Out of the 44 countries seeking a Tokyo berth this week, Ireland is currently ranked in ninth country position (moving up from 11th after four races). However, five other nations also seeking a Tokyo place are within ten points of McMahon, who counts a Black Flag Disqualification from race two as his discard, so the stakes are high.
See overall results here
While Lynch scored two top 20 places earlier today to stand 50th overall in the 156-strong fleet, it is McMahon who has the best overall Irish placing in 41st place following a 14th and 13th for the day in his first senior World Championship in the class. The 20-year-old rookie has already given notice of his intent this season with a stand out European performance in May, as Afloat reported here.
If McMahon can maintain such form and qualify the nation this weekend, it sets the stage for a trial between him and Lynch for the single Tokyo 2020 berth.
Liam Glynn from Bangor was unable to find his opening day form and lies mid-fleet in 77th overall.
“It definitely depends on the wind; with lighter wind, anything is possible as the (overall) points are actually quite close,” commented Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing’s head Laser coach. “Many good sailors didn’t make the Gold fleet and now we have nothing to lose. For now, it’s not about the (final) result, it’s about sailing freely and having fun.”