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Ireland Misses Chance of Olympic Berth at Laser Worlds in Japan

9th July 2019
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Finn Lynch at the Laser Worlds, Japan Finn Lynch at the Laser Worlds, Japan

There was disappointment for Ireland as Finn Lynch's 2019 bid for a Tokyo berth sank in the final races of the Laser World Championships in Japan earlier today.

Australia’s Tom Burton, the Olympic Gold medalist from Rio, took the title followed closely by teammate Mathew Wearn.

Ireland's Rio rep, Lynch (Bennekerry, Co. Carlow) was best placed to achieve qualification (the top five unqualified countries go through this week) but has ended the championship in 40th overall in the 148-boat fleet, 11th unqualified country and some 56-points off the tally required.  Results are here.

Ewan McMahon (Howth, Co. Dublin) placed a solid 50th for his debut at senior level world championship while Liam Glynn (Bangor, Co. Down) in only his second worlds made the top 100.

"For sure, the result is disappointing, especially after such a strong season," commented James O'Callaghan, Irish Sailing's Performance Director. "However, sport always has highs and lows, the key thing now is to bounce back and be ready for Genoa.”

Last Chance for Ireland in Genoa

Unfortunately, Ireland also missed out on qualification last year when the first 14 nation places were allocated at the 2018 World Championships in Aarhus. This represented 40% of the 35 boat Olympic Laser fleet.

The Laser Men’s European sailing teams who qualified in Aarhus 2018 were;

  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Norway

Six non-European countries also qualified for Tokyo in Aarhus. Those were;

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • New Zealand
  • Peru
  • South Korea
  • United States

In addition, Japan as a host nation automatically qualifies for the Games meaning 15 of 35 places were already booked coming into the pre-Olympic season.

In Japan today, a further five berths were decided between the 44 unqualified nations from 58 competing. These are: 

  • Sweden 
  • Argentina
  • Russia
  • Hungary
  • Guatemala 

This leaves 15 places to complete the Olympic fleet.

These will be available at Continental Qualification events throughout the remainder of 2019 and moving into 2020. Full details of how these places will be distributed are in the Tokyo Qualification System document that is downloadable here but for Ireland, the news is that there are just two European places left and these will be decided next year in Genoa.

The following five European countries, (who have still not qualified their country) all finished ahead of Ireland today so Ireland will have to overhaul all but one of these to win a Tokyo berth in Genoa next April 13-19. 

  • Slovenia
  • Switzerland
  • Spain
  • Netherlands
  • Belgium

It'll be a tough nut to crack especially as both Belgium and Spain beat Ireland at the 2018 World Championships too yet the Italian venue is where Lynch performed so well earlier this season.

Read Afloat's coverage of the 2019 Laser World Championships in one handy link here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Olympic Sailing features a variety of craft, from dinghies and keelboats to windsurfing boards. The programme at Tokyo 2020 will include two events for both men and women, three for men only, two for women only and one for mixed crews:

Event Programme

RS:X - Windsurfer (Men/Women)
Laser - One Person Dinghy (Men)
Laser Radial - One Person Dinghy (Women)
Finn - One Person Dinghy (Heavyweight) (Men)
470 - Two Person Dinghy (Men/Women)
49er - Skiff (Men)
49er FX - Skiff (Women)
Nacra 17 Foiling - Mixed Multihull

The mixed Nacra 17 Foiling - Mixed Multihull and women-only 49er FX - Skiff, events were first staged at Rio 2016.

Each event consists of a series of races. Points in each race are awarded according to position: the winner gets one point, the second-placed finisher scores two, and so on. The final race is called the medal race, for which points are doubled. Following the medal race, the individual or crew with the fewest total points is declared the winner.

During races, boats navigate a course shaped like an enormous triangle, heading for the finish line after they contend with the wind from all three directions. They must pass marker buoys a certain number of times and in a predetermined order.

Sailing competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled to take place from 27 July to 6 August at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour. 

Venues: Enoshima Yacht Harbor

No. of events: 10

Dates: 27 July – 6 August

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Dates

Sailing competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled to take place from 27 July to 6 August at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour. 

Venue: Enoshima Yacht Harbour

No. of events: 10

Dates: 27 July – 6 August

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