Aoife Hopkins will not appeal last week’s decision to cut-short the Radial Olympic trial for Tokyo 2021 as Howth Yacht Club, expressed its disappointment for both the former U21 European Champion and clubmate Eve McMahon, both contestants in the Irish trials.
Hopkins (21), who was Murphy's (30) nearest rival for the single Tokyo berth, was left 'devastated' last week when the trials were stopped.
"I really can’t understand the decision not to continue with the trials. I am utterly and completely devastated", she told Afloat after the decision.
Speaking at the weekend, Howth Yacht Club Commodore Ian Byrne told Afloat 'Our club is naturally disappointed for Aoife and Eve and that they didn’t get the chance to follow through with their campaigns'.
Under the selection process, if one or more of the trial regattas are cancelled, then the person with the best performance in the completed trial regattas secures the nomination.
Murphy finished the ILCA Laser Radial Women’s World Championship in 12th place, Hopkins finished in 40th, Aisling Keller 63rd, and Academy sailor McMahon 78th.
The manner in which the decision was made and conveyed to Hopkins took her and supporters aback last Monday, (including some sponsors), given that the Olympics is still a year away, adding heft to her argument there was plenty of time to complete the trials series among the four Irish contestants.
Hopkins club has expressed its disappointment at the decision despite the fact that the Rio silver medalist may have set a tough target for the others after a top placing at February's World Championships.
Hopkins is arguably the most affected by the decision, given the length of her campaign and also that she might have expected to be in Tokyo, before Annalise’s return to the class after she gave up on the 49er FX last September.
Hopkins also had a club rival in young Academy sailor Eve McMahon who had been given the chance to contest the trial as a 16-year-old, so the Radial trial was of significant interest at Ireland's biggest yacht club.
McMahon is playing a ‘long game’, with a clear focus on future campaigns. A talented racer, she already has what it takes to compete at the highest level and was crowned U17 champion at the Worlds in February.
Hopkins says she is taking time out to reassess her situation.
'Aoife is a talented and hard-working competitor and once she’s had the time to reflect on her situation, she will emerge stronger than ever, Howth's Brian Turvey told Afloat. 'it’s easy to forget that Eve is still only 16 years of age and she has a terrific future ahead of her'.
'We have followed their progress and supported their campaigns since their first aspirations in competition and we are gutted for them after what must feel like a lifetime of commitment', Commodore Byrne added.
We wish Annalise well and hope that Irish Sailing’s interjection in this process produces the right result, the HYC Commodore said.
As Afloat previously reported, Irish Sailing's James O'Callaghan said "Annalise’s performance in the 2020 Worlds made her a clear favourite to win the scheduled trials. By nominating her now the Irish Sailing Board have ensured that team preparations can move focus to the Olympics rather than preparing for domestic trials”.
He went on to say: “for sure this is tough on Aoife but she is still very young and can benefit massively from team training planned in Tokyo”.
O'Callaghan said at the weekend that no appeals against the decision had been received. Murphy's nomination will be put forward to the Olympic Federation of Ireland for ratification.