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Annalise Murphy and Eve McMahon are among the nominees in this year’s Her Sport Awards.

After yet another historic and momentous year for Irish sportswomen, the Her Sport Awards aim to celebrate and recognise the incredible achievements of Irish athletes in 2023.

The awards ceremony will take place at UCD’s Astra Hall on Saturday 27 January and voting is open now on in the various categories, including Personality of the Year where the shortlist includes Olympic hero and National Yacht Club stalwart Annalise Murphy.

After calling time on her Olympic career last year, Murphy has had a busy 2023, both as part of the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) Athletes’ Commission and in the velodrome, making headlines in track cycling.

Murphy’s silver medal in Rio 2016 was in the Laser Radial, now the ILCA 6 — the boat of choice for Eve McMahon, a nominee for Young Athlete of the Year.

It’s the latest in a slew of accolades for the Howth Yacht Club talent, who is the current U21 World Champion in her class, is also shortlisted for the RTÉ Young Sportsperson of the Year — and was named as Afloat.ie’s Sailor of the Month for October.

Irish rowing double Alison Bergin and Zoe Hyde are also in the running for the Team of the Year gong as their Paris 2024 qualifying campaign made great progress.

Show your support by casting your vote at awards.hersport.ie.

Published in News Update

Irish Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy is back in competition but not in sailing; now, the Irish Laser sailing superstar is winning in the velodrome. 

Murphy, seven years on from her silver medal in Rio 2016, is making headlines again after some great racing on day one of the Dublin Track Cycling International 2023.

As Cycling Ireland reports, over the first of two days in the UCI Class 2 event, Ireland’s best domestic track cyclists rubbed shoulders with a number of international stars at Sundrive Velodrome. 

There were perfect conditions as sunshine and light winds made for great racing, with a mix of Irish and international riders picking up medals.

The first final of the day saw Murphy take victory in the women’s scratch race, breaking away from the main bunch with two laps to go.

Murhpy has regularly competed in road cycling events in recent years but impressed many after her clever attack left the chasers with too much to do before Murphy crossed the line.

The National Yacht Club sailor said: “I’m absolutely delighted. I only started on the track only two months ago, so this is my first-ever race. I was trying not to disturb anyone or anything. I know I’ve good power, but I don’t know exactly when to use it, but each lap, I was learning what was happening.”

“With two laps to go, I just thought I’d go for it and see what happens. I guess I was lucky, I got a gap on the girls, and the last lap was so hard – I didn’t know how I was going to hold on.”

More from Cycling Ireland here

Published in Annalise Murphy
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The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) Athletes’ Commission, which includes Olympic sailing star Annalise Murphy and rower Sanita Puspure, has officially launched its strategy, which is focused around four key pillars: Athlete Welfare, Athlete Voice, Athlete Impact and Athlete Spirit. The launch also marked the announcement of a €65,000 Make a Difference fund for athletes and coaches. Today’s launch took place at a social event for athletes centred around the theme ‘Enjoying the Journey.’

Several key actions were outlined at today’s strategy launch, including a Mentorship Programme which will see seasoned Olympians sharing their experiences with younger athletes. The Athletes’ Commission also outlined areas of advocacy that they will be focusing on, including the establishment of a task force to explore ways of ensuring that Olympic athletes can be better recognised in the tax system.

At the event, details of the €65,000 Make a Difference fund were released, with invitations to be extended to athletes and coaches to apply, based on the acknowledgement that in some cases vital elements of athlete performance hinges on the support that they get from coaches, sparring partners, or other individuals who are based outside their high-performance system. This fund incorporates proceeds that were raised at the recent Make a Difference golf fund raiser at the K Club.

Today’s event saw young athletes and experienced Olympians and Olympic medallists come together from over fifteen sports to hear from some of Ireland’s top athletes and to share their own stories and experiences. Tokyo 2020 Olympic Bronze Medallist in Boxing, Aidan Walsh, provided a powerful account of his journey to Olympic success, before two separate panel discussions involving Athletes’ Commission members Annalise Murphy, Paddy Barnes, Sanita Puspure and Brendan Boyce offered tips and advice on the back of their own Olympic experiences. Team Ireland Chef de Mission for Paris, Gavin Noble, also provided an update, at the event facilitated by former Athletes’ Commission member David Gillick.

Speaking at the event, Chair of the Athletes’ Commission, Shane O’Connor, who competed for Team Ireland in Alpine Skiing at the Vancouver 2010 Games, said,

“It’s really encouraging to see so many people here today, representing a wide range of sports, especially so many younger athletes, both in person and online. The Athletes’ Commission has a real opportunity to drive a positive agenda and one that is relevant to athletes. Today’s event is focusing on the importance of enjoying the journey in sport, and this is a message that we, as the Team Ireland Athletes’ Commission, want to make sure is at the heart of each athlete’s own personal journey. We want to support our athletes by ensuring that their voice is represented at decision-making tables in items relating to the athlete journey.”

Vice-Chair Natalya Coyle, who competed at three Olympic Games in Modern Pentathlon said,

“We are really pleased to launch today’s strategy, especially at this event which has brought together athletes with a range of experience, including a huge number of promising athletes who are just starting their journey. A lot of time was spent developing this strategy that we feel represents athletes in the current Irish high-performance system. We are also pleased to launch it, knowing that work has already begun in many key areas within the strategy. The plan builds on the strong foundations that were put in place by the last Athletes’ Commission. We are looking forward to progressing and to making a difference for the athletes in the coming cycle.”

The main aim of the Athletes’ Commission is to ensure that the voice of athletes is embedded in decision making structures on key matters pertaining to Olympians and aspiring Olympic athletes. The current Athletes’ Commission was elected by the athlete body earlier this year, and includes high profile Olympians and experienced athletes to represent the values and beliefs of the wider athlete body.

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Annalise Murphy, Sanita Puspure, Claire Lambe and the rest of the Team Ireland Athletes’ Commission are calling on all Olympians, past and present, and high performance athletes on their sports national team (both junior and senior) to join them for a social event to discuss the importance of 'Enjoying the Journey'.

The event at the Sport Ireland Campus in northwest Dublin on Wednesday 14 December will also serve as an official launch of the Athletes’ Commission Strategy for 2022-2024, with details of the related activities, supports and actions to be announced.

The event will be an interactive event, aimed at creating engaging discussion around the various challenges and opportunities for high performing athletes, and the importance of remaining focused at all times on finding enjoyment and happiness in the steps along the way.

MC David Gillick (Olympian and former Athletes' Commission member) will guide two panel discussions around the topic, touching on key points such as how to celebrate success, and tips and advice from the experienced Olympians in the room.

The event will be brought by the Athletes' Commission who are: Shane O’Connor (chair), Natalya Coyle (vice chair), Olympic sailing hero Annalise Murphy, Olympic rowers Sanita Puspure and Claire Lambe, Brendan Boyce, David Harte and Paddy Barnes, most of who will be present on the day.

Keynote speaker will be Olympic bronze medallist in boxing from Tokyo, Aidan Walsh. In addition, Team Ireland chef de mission for Paris 2024, Gavin Noble — a former Olympian and former Athletes' Commission member — will present on the Paris plans.

Places will be limited so early registration is advisable. Qualifying athletes should email [email protected] for for the registration link.

After calling time on her Olympic career this past summer, Rio 2016 silver medallist Annalise Murphy has been adjusting to life away from sport — and as she shares with the Irish Examiner, it hasn’t always been plain sailing.

Among the 32-year-old’s concerns are her body image, something in which she admits she does not have “great confidence”.

“In my sport, weight and shape were so important for performing well... I associate being a certain size and a certain weight with success. That’s not good, I wish I didn’t [think like that]. I am working on that.”

Keeping fit in general has also been a challenge, following a bout of COVID four months ago. “It floored me,” she says. “I’ve had to completely readjust my idea of what fitness is.”

On a more positive note, getting a good night’s sleep is no obstacle for Annalise as she moves on from her sailing career and tries “to figure out what to do next”.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Annalise Murphy
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Ireland's Olympic sailing medalist Annalise Murphy is plotting a course for a career in sustainability and in one of her first assignments, the Rio star has been unveiled as the keynote speaker at Chorus, Ireland’s first-ever Women in Green Hydrogen network event.

Chorus is bringing together people from every walk of life who want to help achieve affordable, sustainable and equitable energy for Ireland in Dublin on November 21.

Women in Green Hydrogen is a global network that works to improve the visibility of and amplify the voices of women working in the sector, and has over 3000 members worldwide. Annalise, who represented Ireland at three Olympic Games, is looking forward to the event:

“In my sailing career, I developed a huge respect for the power of renewable energy, so I am really excited about Chorus and being part of such a vital conversation right now. No one can ignore the pressures on the energy sources Ireland has relied upon for generations, and a diverse range of voices must speak up and be heard out in the rooms where decisions are made.

I’m committed to a sustainable future - I was proud to be part of the Turn the Tide against Plastic team that came sixth in the gruelling Volvo Ocean Race a few years ago and issues around sustainability and a greener future are top of my list of priorities as I plan the next steps in my career”.

Leading organiser from WiGH for Chorus Catherine Sheridan is thrilled to have Annalise on board: “Having someone join us who has used the power of wind and water to reach the international peak of her sport is a major boost for our event. Annalise is a perfect fit for what we’re trying to do. She has been an incredible role model for many years and her support means so much. As Chorus host, I’m looking forward to introducing her to our guests and hearing what she has to say”.

Catherine, a leading member of the WiGH network since its formation, has represented Ireland internationally and was recognised in the ‘Women in Hydrogen 50’ list by Hydrogen Economist. She has been working in the utility sector for over 20 years and is currently the Head of Strategy at Green Rebel.

Chorus will be hosted at the Dublin offices of law firm Pinsent Masons. Registration is free, and the event is sponsored by EIH2, Worley and Pinsent Masons. Anyone interested in registering is invited to email [email protected] for more information, or to click here. Chorus is being held the day before the inaugural Hydrogen Ireland Annual Conference, where academics and professionals, policymakers and government officials are invited to hear expert discussion on Hydrogen: Securing Ireland’s Green Energy Future. Full details of this event are available on h2irl.com

Published in Annalise Murphy
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Cork Harbour's Nicholas O’Leary captains a squad made up largely of Irish Olympic campaigners – including Rio silver medalist Annalise Murphy – in a bid to be crowned the world's best sailing nation in a new competition called the SSL Gold Cup starting in Switzerland this week.

The Irish team comprises Harry Durcan, Cian Guilfoyle, Annalise Murphy, Robert Dickson, Simon Johnson, Finn Lynch, Sean Waddilove, Peter O'Leary, Oisin McClelland and Stephen Milne.

SSL Gold Cup Team Ireland

The SSL Gold Cup 2022 will start on May 19th with the Qualifying Series in Grandson, Lake Neuchatel (Switzerland). All teams ranked from the Top 25 to 56 in the January 2022 SSL Nations ranking will meet in eight groups of four teams each. There will be five stages of the Qualifying Series running from May 19th to July 17th.

Annalise Murphy, Robert Dickson (centre)and Sean Waddilove are part of the Irish Green Armada team that compete in Switzerland this weekAnnalise Murphy, Robert Dickson (centre) and Sean Waddilove are part of the Irish Green Armada team that compete in Switzerland this week

SSL Gold Cup Irish jerseyThe SSL Gold Cup Irish team jersey

After three to four days of racing, only the top two teams of each group will go through to the Final Series that will take place from October 28th to November 20th, 2022, to defend their national colours.

SSL Gold Cup Irish jersey

The event director is noted Polish Star helmsman Mateusz Kusznierewicz. 

The SSL Gold Cup will be raced in the SSL47. 11 sailors on each national team, including women and men, will be selected through their national SSL ranking but also their Captain’s choice, with no financial nor technological barriers. 

All the sailors come from Olympic classes, Match-Racing, America's Cup or other noted keelboat circuits.

All nations, from Sailing leading countries like Australia, France, Great Britain, New Zealand or USA will race at the same level as the small ones such as Guatemala, Slovenia, Tahiti or Estonia. 

In its advance billing, the pre-event promotional team are in overdrive: Sailing has finally its own World Cup! Like football in 1930 and rugby in 1987, the SSL Gold Cup is designed to crown the best sailing nation of all! The World's Top 56 countries, selected on their SSL Nation ranking, will battle their way through to raise the coveted and only Sailing World Cup trophy. 

SSL Gold Cup

In relation to the Irish team, the event programme says " With a rich maritime history, Ireland consistently punches above its weight on the world stage, and their sailing is no different. With Olympic medalists, Volvo Ocean Race winners, America's Cup sailors, and offshore sailing coming from the Emerald Isle, there is a long history of sailing success. Through this varied pool of sailing, inspiration and talent is rife, and above all the respect for what it takes to succeed in the sport is widely appreciated.

Green Armada captain Nicholas O’LearyGreen Armada captain Nicholas O’Leary

The Irish team motto we learn is: "From all walks of the Sport of Sailing (The Green Armada) brought together to battle it out with the best in the world of Sailing"

The Irish crew travel on Tuesday for two days of training and straight into four-boat fleet racing for a round of qualifiers. The top two teams go through to the next round.

The SSL (STAR SAILORS LEAGUE) is the global inshore sailing circuit launched by Olympic athletes in 2012, by sailors for sailors. Its main philosophy considers the athletes (not the boats) as the “Stars” and it aims to showcase the annual global sailing championship with its over 15’000 regattas; it determines and celebrates the world leaders in sailing promoting the inshore regattas to the global audience.

The three main components of the SSL Circuit are the SSL Ranking published every Tuesday, updating the position of over 100,000 leading athletes, thus highlighting the world’s top inshore sailors. The SSL Finals taking place every year around November-December, it’s the annual final of the SSL Circuit among the 20/25 best athletes of the ranking, to crown the champion of the season. And the SSL Gold Cup, the ‘ultimate’ championship of the circuit with 56 nations among World Sailing members, to crown the best sailing nation.

In a mechanical sport where the race for technology sometimes gets in the way of the race for glory, the SSL aims for equal competition where the talent of the sailors is at the forefront and the champions become heroes that inspire new generations of sailors.

The SSL is a World Sailing Special Event since 2017.

More here

Published in SSL Gold Cup

Afloat was quick to point out to An Post there were some notable absences from last month's tribute to Irish female sporting heroes in its set of six National Stamps (Irish Women in Sport).

The Irish Post Office paid tribute to achievements in athletics, boxing, horse racing, swimming and hockey in its March issue.

But there was no place for sailing's 2016 Olympic silver medalist Annalise Murphy or rowing's quartet of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Fiona Murtagh and Emily Hegarty who produced a stirring finish to take the bronze medal in the women's four final at Tokyo.

The stamps acknowledge Irish sportswomen’s great achievements at home and on the international stage but an An Post spokesperson acknowledged the omission and told Afloat "We had a finite number of stamps so not all our wonderful athletes could feature – this time". 

The spokesperson added, "We have had similar enquiries about top Irish athletes in a number of other sports". 

The booklet features Irish female sporting icons Sonia O’Sullivan, Katie Taylor, Kellie Harrington, Rachael Blackmore, Ellen Keane and the Irish Women’s hockey team.

Happily, Irish Women in Sport is a topic that An Post will be returning to again in a future programme so, it appears, we may yet see some achievements afloat and get a stamp of approval?

Published in Women in Sailing
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Olympic sailing silver medalist Annalise Murphy is joined by fellow Olympians, rowers Sanita Puspure and Claire Lambe in the latest Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) Athletes’ Commission.

The three are among eight athletes elected from a list of 13 for the commission’s 2022-24 term, as the OFI announced today.

All Irish Olympians were eligible to vote in an online platform for seven of the commission’s spots, with Ireland’s sole winter sport candidate Shane O’Connor automatically elected, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

The regulations made allowance for a minimum gender balance of 40%. However, the election produced a 50/50 gender balance without need to invoke such mechanisms.

Murphy finished 18th overall in the Laser Radial at Tokyo 2020 last summer, and has since called time on her Olympic sailing career.

Also in Tokyo, Puspure reached the B final of the women’s single scull before withdrawing due to illness.

And before her retirement from international competition ins 2018, Lambe was a finalist in the women’s lightweight double sculls at Rio 2016.

The three women and O’Connor will sit alongside race walker Brendan Boyce, boxer Paddy Barnes, hockey international David Harte and modern pentathlete Natalya Coyle in the latest formation of the commission.

OFI president Sarah Keane congratulated the successful candidates and thanked all those who applied.

“We are confident that the athlete voice will be represented well and that you will continue to drive sport forward, each of you bringing with you a wealth of experience,” she said.

“I also want to thank the outgoing Athletes’ Commission who have worked really hard in important areas in sport, from athlete welfare and representation on decision making groups, to driving initiatives that Irish athletes wanted to back, such as anti-doping and tackling racism and discrimination.

“You have given this new commission a very solid point from which they can start.”

The outgoing OFI Athletes’ Commission was appointed in 2017, and consisted of Shane O’Connor (chair), Gavin Noble (vice chair), David Harte (also a member of the EOC Athletes’ Commission), David Gillick (also an athlete representative in Sport Ireland anti-doping initiatives), Kenneth Egan, James Nolan, Melanie Nocher and Judy Reynolds.

Over the coming weeks the new OFI Athletes’ Commission will meet informally, in a virtual setting, and will hold its first official meeting soon after.

Published in Olympic

Sailing's Annalise Murphy as well as rowing's Claire Lambe and Sanita Puspure are among an impressive list of thirteen candidates across ten sports have been nominated to run for election for the Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission.

The recruitment process opened for the 2022-2024 term before Christmas and Olympians from any of the last four Olympic cycles, winter, or summer, were invited to apply for a position on the commission that acts as the athlete’s voice for Irish Olympic athletes. Voting opened on the 11 January and will close at 1pm on the 16 January 2022.

Applicants were initially requested to complete a form outlining their aims and objectives should they be elected to the OFI Athletes’ Commission and were required to be supported by either their National Federation or three Olympians. Outlining a range of aims the high calibre candidates who will run for election list among their goals athlete-focused objectives such as improving athlete welfare, mental health, education and support for the athletes.

The list of candidates are as follows:

Olympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission candidatesOlympic Federation of Ireland Athletes’ Commission candidates

The current Athletes’ Commission was established in June 2017, with the aim of ensuring that the athlete’s voice is heard across all levels of Olympic sport in Ireland. Their strategy outlines a vision for Ireland to be the best country in the world to be an Olympian or aspiring Olympic athlete.

Rowing's Claire Lambe and Sanita Puspure (above) are candidates for the Athletes CommissionRowing's Claire Lambe and Sanita Puspure (above) are candidates for the Athletes Commission

Seven people will be elected from the list of candidates, with Shane O’Connor deemed selected to the Athletes’ Commission, being an automatic selection as the sole nomination from the winter sports. Both genders will be represented in line with the OFI’s gender balance policy of 40%. The successful members will be elected to the OFI Athletes’ Commission and will remain in office until late 2024.

If any Irish Olympian has not received an email with a password, please contact Heather Boyle [email protected] with their name, email address, the Games in which they competed.

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Irish Olympic Sailing Team

Ireland has a proud representation in sailing at the Olympics dating back to 1948. Today there is a modern governing structure surrounding the selection of sailors the Olympic Regatta

Irish Olympic Sailing FAQs

Ireland’s representation in sailing at the Olympics dates back to 1948, when a team consisting of Jimmy Mooney (Firefly), Alf Delany and Hugh Allen (Swallow) competed in that year’s Summer Games in London (sailing off Torquay). Except for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Ireland has sent at least one sailor to every Summer Games since then.

  • 1948 – London (Torquay) — Firefly: Jimmy Mooney; Swallow: Alf Delany, Hugh Allen
  • 1952 – Helsinki — Finn: Alf Delany * 1956 – Melbourne — Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1960 – Rome — Flying Dutchman: Johnny Hooper, Peter Gray; Dragon: Jimmy Mooney, David Ryder, Robin Benson; Finn: J Somers Payne
  • 1964 – Tokyo — Dragon: Eddie Kelliher, Harry Maguire, Rob Dalton; Finn: Johnny Hooper 
  • 1972 – Munich (Kiel) — Tempest: David Wilkins, Sean Whitaker; Dragon: Robin Hennessy, Harry Byrne, Owen Delany; Finn: Kevin McLaverty; Flying Dutchman: Harold Cudmore, Richard O’Shea
  • 1976 – Montreal (Kingston) — 470: Robert Dix, Peter Dix; Flying Dutchman: Barry O’Neill, Jamie Wilkinson; Tempest: David Wilkins, Derek Jago
  • 1980 – Moscow (Tallinn) — Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson (Silver medalists) * 1984 – Los Angeles — Finn: Bill O’Hara
  • 1988 – Seoul (Pusan) — Finn: Bill O’Hara; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; 470 (Women): Cathy MacAleavy, Aisling Byrne
  • 1992 – Barcelona — Europe: Denise Lyttle; Flying Dutchman: David Wilkins, Peter Kennedy; Star: Mark Mansfield, Tom McWilliam
  • 1996 – Atlanta (Savannah) — Laser: Mark Lyttle; Europe: Aisling Bowman (Byrne); Finn: John Driscoll; Star: Mark Mansfield, David Burrows; 470 (Women): Denise Lyttle, Louise Cole; Soling: Marshall King, Dan O’Grady, Garrett Connolly
  • 2000 – Sydney — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, David O'Brien
  • 2004 – Athens — Europe: Maria Coleman; Finn: David Burrows; Star: Mark Mansfield, Killian Collins; 49er: Tom Fitzpatrick, Fraser Brown; 470: Gerald Owens, Ross Killian; Laser: Rory Fitzpatrick
  • 2008 – Beijing (Qingdao) — Star: Peter O’Leary, Stephen Milne; Finn: Tim Goodbody; Laser Radial: Ciara Peelo; 470: Gerald Owens, Phil Lawton
  • 2012 – London (Weymouth) — Star: Peter O’Leary, David Burrows; 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; Laser Radial: Annalise Murphy; Laser: James Espey; 470: Gerald Owens, Scott Flanigan
  • 2016 – Rio — Laser Radial (Women): Annalise Murphy (Silver medalist); 49er: Ryan Seaton, Matt McGovern; 49erFX: Andrea Brewster, Saskia Tidey; Laser: Finn Lynch; Paralympic Sonar: John Twomey, Ian Costello & Austin O’Carroll

Ireland has won two Olympics medals in sailing events, both silver: David Wilkins, Jamie Wilkinson in the Flying Dutchman at Moscow 1980, and Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial at Rio 2016.

The current team, as of December 2020, consists of Laser sailors Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon, 49er pairs Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle, and Sean Waddilove and Robert Dickson, as well as Laser Radial sailors Annalise Murphy and Aoife Hopkins.

Irish Sailing is the National Governing Body for sailing in Ireland.

Irish Sailing’s Performance division is responsible for selecting and nurturing Olympic contenders as part of its Performance Pathway.

The Performance Pathway is Irish Sailing’s Olympic talent pipeline. The Performance Pathway counts over 70 sailors from 11 years up in its programme.The Performance Pathway is made up of Junior, Youth, Academy, Development and Olympic squads. It provides young, talented and ambitious Irish sailors with opportunities to move up through the ranks from an early age. With up to 100 young athletes training with the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway, every aspect of their performance is planned and closely monitored while strong relationships are simultaneously built with the sailors and their families

Rory Fitzpatrick is the head coach of Irish Sailing Performance. He is a graduate of University College Dublin and was an Athens 2004 Olympian in the Laser class.

The Performance Director of Irish Sailing is James O’Callaghan. Since 2006 James has been responsible for the development and delivery of athlete-focused, coach-led, performance-measured programmes across the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway. A Business & Economics graduate of Trinity College Dublin, he is a Level 3 Qualified Coach and Level 2 Coach Tutor. He has coached at five Olympic Games and numerous European and World Championship events across multiple Olympic classes. He is also a member of the Irish Sailing Foundation board.

Annalise Murphy is by far and away the biggest Irish sailing star. Her fourth in London 2012 when she came so agonisingly close to a bronze medal followed by her superb silver medal performance four years later at Rio won the hearts of Ireland. Murphy is aiming to go one better in Tokyo 2021. 

Under head coach Rory Fitzpatrick, the coaching staff consists of Laser Radial Academy coach Sean Evans, Olympic Laser coach Vasilij Zbogar and 49er team coach Matt McGovern.

The Irish Government provides funding to Irish Sailing. These funds are exclusively for the benefit of the Performance Pathway. However, this falls short of the amount required to fund the Performance Pathway in order to allow Ireland compete at the highest level. As a result the Performance Pathway programme currently receives around €850,000 per annum from Sport Ireland and €150,000 from sponsorship. A further €2 million per annum is needed to have a major impact at the highest level. The Irish Sailing Foundation was established to bridge the financial gap through securing philanthropic donations, corporate giving and sponsorship.

The vision of the Irish Sailing Foundation is to generate the required financial resources for Ireland to scale-up and execute its world-class sailing programme. Irish Sailing works tirelessly to promote sailing in Ireland and abroad and has been successful in securing funding of 1 million euro from Sport Ireland. However, to compete on a par with other nations, a further €2 million is required annually to realise the ambitions of our talented sailors. For this reason, the Irish Sailing Foundation was formed to seek philanthropic donations. Led by a Board of Directors and Head of Development Kathryn Grace, the foundation lads a campaign to bridge the financial gap to provide the Performance Pathway with the funds necessary to increase coaching hours, upgrade equipment and provide world class sport science support to a greater number of high-potential Irish sailors.

The Senior and Academy teams of the Performance Pathway are supported with the provision of a coach, vehicle, coach boat and boats. Even with this level of subsidy there is still a large financial burden on individual families due to travel costs, entry fees and accommodation. There are often compromises made on the amount of days a coach can be hired for and on many occasions it is necessary to opt out of major competitions outside Europe due to cost. Money raised by the Irish Sailing Foundation will go towards increased quality coaching time, world-class equipment, and subsiding entry fees and travel-related costs. It also goes towards broadening the base of talented sailors that can consider campaigning by removing financial hurdles, and the Performance HQ in Dublin to increase efficiency and reduce logistical issues.

The ethos of the Performance Pathway is progression. At each stage international performance benchmarks are utilised to ensure the sailors are meeting expectations set. The size of a sailor will generally dictate which boat they sail. The classes selected on the pathway have been identified as the best feeder classes for progression. Currently the Irish Sailing Performance Pathway consists of the following groups: * Pathway (U15) Optimist and Topper * Youth Academy (U19) Laser 4.7, Laser Radial and 420 * Development Academy (U23) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX * Team IRL (direct-funded athletes) Laser, Laser Radial, 49er, 49erFX

The Irish Sailing performance director produces a detailed annual budget for the programme which is presented to Sport Ireland, Irish Sailing and the Foundation for detailed discussion and analysis of the programme, where each item of expenditure is reviewed and approved. Each year, the performance director drafts a Performance Plan and Budget designed to meet the objectives of Irish Performance Sailing based on an annual review of the Pathway Programmes from Junior to Olympic level. The plan is then presented to the Olympic Steering Group (OSG) where it is independently assessed and the budget is agreed. The OSG closely monitors the delivery of the plan ensuring it meets the agreed strategy, is within budget and in line with operational plans. The performance director communicates on an ongoing basis with the OSG throughout the year, reporting formally on a quarterly basis.

Due to the specialised nature of Performance Sport, Irish Sailing established an expert sub-committee which is referred to as the Olympic Steering Group (OSG). The OSG is chaired by Patrick Coveney and its objective is centred around winning Olympic medals so it oversees the delivery of the Irish Sailing’s Performance plan.

At Junior level (U15) sailors learn not only to be a sailor but also an athlete. They develop the discipline required to keep a training log while undertaking fitness programmes, attending coaching sessions and travelling to competitions. During the winter Regional Squads take place and then in spring the National Squads are selected for Summer Competitions. As sailors move into Youth level (U19) there is an exhaustive selection matrix used when considering a sailor for entry into the Performance Academy. Completion of club training programmes, attendance at the performance seminars, physical suitability and also progress at Junior and Youth competitions are assessed and reviewed. Once invited in to the Performance Academy, sailors are given a six-month trial before a final decision is made on their selection. Sailors in the Academy are very closely monitored and engage in a very well planned out sailing, training and competition programme. There are also defined international benchmarks which these sailors are required to meet by a certain age. Biannual reviews are conducted transparently with the sailors so they know exactly where they are performing well and they are made aware of where they may need to improve before the next review.

©Afloat 2020

Tokyo 2021 Olympic Sailing

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

Following a one year postponement, sailing competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo are scheduled to take place from 23 July 2021 and run until the 8 August at the Enoshima Yacht Harbour. 

Venue: Enoshima Yacht Harbour

No. of events: 10

Dates: 23 July – 8 August 2021

Tokyo 2020 Irish Olympic Sailing Team

ANNALISE MURPHY, Laser Radial

Age 31. From Rathfarnham, Dublin.

Club: National Yacht Club

Full-time sailor

Silver medallist at the 2016 Olympic Games, Rio (Laser Radial class). Competed in the Volvo Ocean Race 2017/2018. Represented Ireland at the London 2012 Olympics. Laser Radial European Champion in 2013.

ROBERT DICKSON, 49er (sails with Seán Waddilove)

Winner, U23 49er World Championships, September 2018, and 2018 Volvo/Afloat Irish Sailor of the Year

DOB: 6 March 1998, from Sutton, Co. Dublin. Age 23

Club: Howth Yacht Club

Currently studying: Sports Science and Health in DCU with a Sports Scholarship.

SEÁN WADDILOVE, 49er (sails with Robert Dickson)

Winner, U23 49er World Championships, September 2018, and recently awarded 2018 Volvo Afloat/Irish Sailor of the Year

DOB: 19 June 1997. From Skerries, Dublin

Age 24

Club: Skerries Sailing Club and Howth Yacht Club

Currently studying International Business and Languages and awarded sports scholarship at TU (Technology University)

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