Olympic Silver medalist Annalise Murphy is expected to return to the Laser Radial dinghy immediately after abandoning hopes of a final qualification chance in the 49erfX dinghy she has been campaigning with Katie Tingle for Tokyo 2020.
After a 'hugely challenging' fourteen months for Murphy and Tingle in the 49erFX class, it was decided after the summer that their 'Olympic medal goal' was no longer realistic, and the campaign has now come to an end.
While Murphy's plans have ended in the 49erFX, all is not lost for Irish Skiff fans, however, who can be certain that Royal Irish sailor Saskia Tidey of Dun Laoghaire will make the British team for Tokyo having won a Bronze medal in September's Pre-Olympics.
Annalise Murphy, a two time Olympian (finishing fourth and second respectively), reflected on the summer performances and in 'consultation with stakeholders' decided against continuing in the 49erFX. Katie Tingle, who has given '100% to the campaign' understands Annalise’s viewpoint but is nevertheless disappointed that the campaign is ending. Commenting on the situation Katie Tingle said “of course I’m disappointed. I’ve had a roller coaster fourteen months having jumped straight in at the deep end of high-performance sport. It’s been incredible seeing how hard everyone works for their goal and the support that goes around it, I’ll miss my teammates and all the support staff.”
After a long period of training that was prefaced by injury in September 2018 when Tingle broke her arm in training on Dublin Bay, the duo first raced in April 2019 at the World Cup in Genoa and immediately admitted a steep learning curve, finishing in the silver fleet. A month later they retired from two races at the Europeans Championships in Weymouth. There appeared to be some progress in June at Kiel Week but by August and a trip to Tokyo for the pre-Olympics, and more mid-fleet results, it appears the writing was on the wall.
"I guess the World Cup in Japan was a bit of a wakeup call for me"
In a statement released this afternoon, Irish Sailing team managers say 'Annalise and Katie are lifelong friends and the decision was not made lightly'.
Murphy said “I guess the World Cup in Japan was a bit of a wakeup call for me, I was unable to see a medal in less than twelve months and that was always the goal. Katie has been incredibly understanding in what is clearly a difficult situation. I’ve learned so much from her over the last fourteen months and am glad our friendship has grown from this shared experience.”
The statement says Murphy is now going to take some time to consider her next steps. With the Laser Radial qualified for an Irish place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, it would seem very likely that she will be back on the water soon.
Irish Sailing Performance Director James O’Callaghan commented, “the Irish Sailing 49erFX project has benefitted the whole team, to have people as positive as Annalise and Katie in the programme has inspired the other teams. We now have a second FX campaign in its infancy so their legacy will continue. Katie took the opportunity to explore her potential to follow her dream, she made the most of the chance and I hope can look back fondly on the experience.”