Ireland will keep its only Tokyo 2020 berth so far and could benefit from another if final outstanding qualification events do not take place, according to the world governing body for the sport of sailing.
Confirmation that the place Lough Derg Yacht Club's Aisling Keller won for Ireland in the women's Laser Radial class remains intact was welcome news last week but there was mixed news for the rest of the squad if it proves impossible to host 'fair qualifications' later this year or early next.
Irish campaigns chasing last places in the 49er, Laser and Finn classes were in turmoil last month when COVID-19 hit key final European qualifications in Italy and Spain, ultimately postponing the Games itself.
The race to win the right to represent Ireland in the Radial has also been upset by the disease spread and the four-way trial currently led by Annalise Murphy has sailed only one of three legs so far.
15% of quota places using 'historical results'
World Sailing President Kim Andersen said on April 2nd that after consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the sport will be able to complete its outstanding qualification events for Africa, Asia and Europe before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021 but if that proves unworkable Andersen also said it would allocate the remaining 15% of quota places using 'historical results'.
In such a scenario, Ireland could increase its representation in Tokyo but only by one boat. There were no details of the proposed 'system', to be used but if the last world championship scoresheets are scrutinised, it will impact Irish campaigns; one positively and two negatively.
As Afloat reported previously, It would be good news for Ireland in the 49er class. Ireland is competing with Belgium, Sweden and Italy for the one remaining European place. Form at the 2020 Worlds suggests that Irish sailors would be favourites for the place having finished ahead of the other three candidates.
In the men's Laser class, there are two European places yet to be won or allocated with four countries in the running – Belgium, Netherlands, Italy and Ireland. Unfortunately, Ireland finished behind all of these at the last World Championships.
In the Finn class, Ireland is well out of the running. There is one European slot remaining, but six as yet to qualify countries finished ahead of Ireland at the recent Gold Cup.