The Royal Irish Yacht Club's Saskia Tidey has won bronze with Charlotte Dobson at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic test event and must now wait to see if the stand out results achieved this week is enough to satisfy selectors and secure the British 49erFX berth at next year's Olympics.
The double-points medal race was brought in to Olympic sailing to add excitement, drama and spectacle to the end of a sailing regatta. And at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic test event, it delivered!
Regatta leaders from race one, Great Britain’s Dobson and Tidey, held a slender one-point lead over Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze. With four boats capable of winning overall, the mathematically game of chess was set for fireworks.
In a steady sea breeze off Enoshima, the 2016 Rio Gold medallists Grael & Kunze sailed smart and safe to finish third in the medal race, three places ahead of Dobson & Tidey. This was enough to secure another win for their already impressive trophy cabinet, having won the Open European Championship & Pan American Games, and numerous World Cup's in 2019.
Norway’s Helene Næss and Marie Rønningen took the medal race win to claim second on the podium on countback ahead of Dobson & Tidey. Norwegians are one of the few teams to emerge this cycle to become contenders in the elite field. After missing out on Rio selection, they trained continuously while many teams took a break, and now have a Silver medal here Ready Steady Tokyo, along with consecutive bronze medals at the 2018 and 2019 European Championships. Training partners with the Brazilian and Kiwi teams, they are well placed to keep improving prior to Tokyo 2020.
Dobson & Tidey found themselves crossing the line in sixth place, and with the double points factored in, dropped to third overall. In some ways, this might have been a somewhat disappointing end after leading for the entire regatta, but a medal at the Olympic Test Event is likely to have secured their nomination to Tokyo in the British system, which, if confirmed, would mask any sort of disappointment.
The Ready Steady Tokyo teams will now be joined by the remainder of the 49erFX fleet for the Sailing World Cup, which begins on Sunday. This will be the last major hit out on the Olympic waters before the games in August 2020. Next up on the calendar is the 2019 World Championships to be sailed in Auckland, New Zealand. With Olympic qualification spots up for grabs and teams looking to secure their countries nomination for Tokyo 2020, the summer down under will be one to watch.
1st Martine Grael / Kahena Kunze (BRA) 57pts
2nd Helene Næss / Marie Rønningen (NOR) 62pts
3rd Charlotte Dobson / Saskia Tidey (RIYC) (GBR) 62pts