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Displaying items by tag: Tokyo 2020

In her latest column for The Irish Times, athletics great Sonia O’Sullivan meets the four women in contention for Ireland’s sole Laser Radial spot at the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer.

After frustrations in her attempt to qualify in the two-handed 49erFX class, Annalise Murphy is back in the boat with which she won silver at the 2016 Olympics — Ireland’s strongest Olympic sailing result to date.

But this time there is tough competition from three women who were still coming up when she was racing for that medal in Rio — namely Aisling Keller, Aoife Hopkins and 15-year-old Eve McMahon.

All four have been training together in Melbourne, Australia since the start of the year, ahead of the Laser Radial World Championship (starting tomorrow, Friday 21 February) which will be the first of three chances between now and April for one of them to secure that coveted spot.

“Think about how that must be for them,” writes Sonia. “They know that only one of them will go to Tokyo so they wouldn’t be human if they didn’t have some sort of selfish instinct in them. It would be only natural for them to keep little bits and pieces that they’re learning back for themselves to give them a better chance of being the one who gets the spot on the boat.

“But they also know that the more they push each other, the better they make each other. And the better they make each other, the greater chance of a medal for Ireland and a better all round result for Irish sailing.”

Sonia also gets out on the water with Annalise to experience first-hand the speed and excitement of the Laser Radial — and the rush Annalise and her fellow challengers will be feeling when the training is done and the race is on.

The Irish Times has more HERE.

Published in ISA

Canoe Slalom racer Liam Jegou has become the first Team Ireland athlete to be selected for the Tokyo Olympic Games this summer. Originally from Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare, the France-based Jegou has already stamped his mark on the international stage, winning silver in the 2014 Junior World Championships and bronze in the 2019 U23 World Championships. The 24-year-old will compete in the C1 category at the Kasai Canoe Slalom Centre in Tokyo from the 26-27 July 2020.

 Jegou is the second Irish athlete ever to compete in the C1 Canoe Slalom at the Olympic Games, with the only other athlete being Mike Corcoran, who last competed in Atlanta 1996, the year in which Jegou was born.

 Jegou said he was intent on seizing his opportunity in Tokyo. “Being an Olympian has always been one of my biggest dreams. I started training when I was 11 or 12, the past month has been unbelievable knowing that I am going to compete for Team Ireland in the Olympics.

 “In my sport the Olympics is everything, it’s what everyone works for in their sport. It’s such a select thing; there’s only one athlete per nation that gets to go and when you to go you just want to give it your all. Most people only get to go to the Games once or twice in their lives, and I’m certainly not going to let the opportunity pass me.”

 Olympic Federation of Ireland Chef de Mission for Tokyo 2020, Tricia Heberle said: “It’s very exciting, this is our first athlete to be approved as part of Team Ireland for the 2020 Olympics – it’s great for the sport and great for Liam.

 “There is a tremendous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes to support sports and our athletes to qualify and perform at the Games. It’s a real team effort with our National Federations, the Sport Ireland Institute and a range of other support groups working together with the athletes as our priority. Liam has his own story and we are so pleased to be supporting the next chapter in his journey as he prepares for the Tokyo Olympic Games.”

 Canoeing Ireland Performance Director Jon Mackey described the significance of this for his sport: It’s big for any sport to qualify for an Olympic Games. For canoeing, it’s great for the exposure of the sport, we are relatively small, and it’s great to tap into the proud tradition of Irish canoeing at the Olympic Games.”

 Jegou was nominated for the 2020 slot after finishing on top in the three-race selection criteria, which included the World Championships in Spain, the event in which Ireland qualified the coveted Olympic berth courtesy of Robert Hendrick.

 The difference between C1 and K1 in Canoeing is that the C1 category involves the athletes using a single-bladed paddle to propel the boat forward while kneeling in the canoe. The K1 athlete is seated and uses a double bladed paddle. C1 Canoe Slalom has been on the Olympic programme since 1992 as a men’s event, and 2020 is the first year that a C1 women’s event is included, in the IOC move towards a gender-balanced games. 

 Ireland has a rich history in K1 Canoe Slalom, with Ian Wiley and Eoin Rheinisch competing in the event for three Olympic Games each between 1992 and 2012. Eadaoin Ní Challarain was the first Irish female canoe slalom racer, competing in the K1 in 2000 and 2004, and in London 2012 Hannah Craig raced in this event also.

 This is the first official Team Ireland Tokyo team announcement. Many sports have ongoing selections and competitions with team announcements expected to come more frequently as we approach the summer, with the final announcement scheduled for the beginning of July. 

Published in Canoeing

The National Yacht Club’s Finn Lynch, supported by Viking Marine, rounded off the 2020 Laser World Championship qualifying series with a 7th and a 20th, discarding the latter, to qualify for the 42 boat gold fleet in 22nd place.

Compatriot Ewan McMahon of Howth Yacht Club improved his overall position by 13 places to lie 63rd and will complete in the silver fleet. Belfast Lough's Liam Glynn in 73rd place also sails in the silver fleet.

The six-race final series runs Friday through Sunday, two races per day.

Results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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With races completed, Irish Laser sailors Finn Lynch and Ewan McMahon are lying 20th and 76th respectively. Irish champion Liam Glynn of Belfast Lough is 80th. 

The National Yacht Club's Lynch continued his day one performance with a 14th and 4th, while Howth Yacht Club's McMahon added 27th and 21st places to his tally.

On a day of strong but shifting winds, Germany’s Philipp Buhl and Jean-Baptiste Bernaz from France found a little more speed than the rest of their competitors to finish the second day tied at the top of the Laser World Championship standings.

With the 124 sailors split into three fleets of around 40, Buhl and Bernaz each won both their races today to sit on just three points after discarding their worst result from yesterday.

With the discard coming into play after four races, the leader board remains tight. There are just eight points separating the top 10.

Buhl said he was happy with how his speed went. “It was a speed race today. The wind was shifty, so good starts also helped. In the second race I thought I had more speed than anyone, but when I looked around Wearny (world number one Matt Wearn) was right on my shoulder. It was a lot of fun, but exhausting.”

Bernaz echoed the comments about speed, saying he had recovered from a yellow flag (issued by the on-water jury) that forced him to do penalty turns and had used his speed to get back into the lead.

“The second race was a dragster, where we all banged the left corner. But I was leading from the beginning. I am very happy.”

Overnight co-leaders Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) and Finn Alexander (AUS) hold equal third position, two points behind the leaders. Both finished mid-teens in the first race of the day, which they could discard, then followed up with a second placing each in race four.

The big movers were Australians Luke “Swifto” Elliott and Matt Wearn who both discarded a sixth place from yesterday. Elliott scored a win and a second place in yellow fleet while Wearn had two seconds behind Philipp Buhl in red fleet.

Elliott said that qualifying was just about getting into gold fleet. “I had a couple of good races and it’s nice to be racing well, but really it’s the second half (of the regatta) that matters.”

Further down the fleet, the battles continue among countrymen for Olympic selection.

Britons Michael Beckett and Elliot Hanson are separated by a single point, in 10th and 11th respectively while 2016 Rio representative Nick Thompson had a slightly better day, moving up from 29th to 26th.

New Zealand’s Thomas Saunders holds a five point lead over Rio bronze medallist Sam Meech, but Meech is putting together a very consistent regatta – he has been fifth in all four races he has sailed.

The Hungarian team also has a selection dilemma on their hands, and it’s very personal. The country has qualified for a spot at the Olympics but is yet to select its sailor – which will be one or other of the Vadnai brothers. At this early stage Benjamin, who is ranked 31st in the world, has a healthy 17 point lead over his higher-ranked brother Jonatan.

The Laser format calls for a 12 race series, with sailors being divided into gold, silver and bronze fleets after six races of qualifying.

The forecast for tomorrow is for strong winds, which should ensure that the final two qualifying races can be completed. Unfortunately, the forecast for Friday, Saturday and especially Sunday afternoons is for lighter winds that could be variable in direction. However, this is Melbourne, where weather can change quickly, so race management is not too worried – yet.

With a tight top 10, the coming days should make for fascinating viewing.

Provisional Top-10 results after four races:
1. Philipp BUHL (GER) 3 pts.
2. Jean Baptiste BERNAZ (FRA) 3 pts.
3. Tonci STIPANOVIC (CRO) 5 pts.
4. Finn ALEXANDER (AUS) 5 pts.
5. Luke ELLIOTT (AUS) 6 pts.
6. Matt WEARN (AUS) 8 pts.
7. Rutger VAN SCHAARDENBURG (NED) 8 pts.
8. Filip JURIŠIC (CRO) 4 9 pts.
9. Thomas SAUNDERS (NZL) 10 pts.

Results can be found at http://sailingresults.net/?ID=80326

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

Leading Irish 49er duo Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove of Howth Yacht Club dropped ten places in the overall standings to be just a single place outside the all-important gold fleet cut-off at the 2020 49er World Championship in Geelong, Australia.

The qualification series was reduced after the first day of racing was lost to weather. Racing continues until Saturday in gold and silver fleet splits.

Irish rivals for Tokyo 2020, Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle improved overall jumping from 49th to 34th in the 78-boat fleet and their scoresheet includes a second place in race five, an individual score to compare to the race win of Dickson and Waddilove in the opening race of the championships.

Reigning 49er world champions and Rio 2016 Gold medallists, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL), bagged enough low scores in the qualification round to lead at the midway point of the qualification round

The top 25 49er teams go through to gold fleet to fight in the coming three days for the world title, and Burling/Tuke are primed to defend their crown, which would make it six for the canny Kiwis.

“It’s good to get through the qualifying series with some low scores, we didn’t sail our best at times, but we had some pretty good comebacks to make up for it. It was pretty tricky out there, plenty of shifts,” Burling said during the derig. “Tomorrow looks pretty similar in terms of the forecast - it should be nice. All the good guys are still here and pushing hard.”

Chasing they are, as the top six teams through qualifying were all in the top eight at the 2019 Worlds. With so many highly-ranked teams close on points, the gold fleet racing will be dramatic. Join us from 1100hrs (AEDT) to watch all the action.

The city of Geelong in the southern state of Victoria awoke to steady rain, grey skies and mist which affected visibility on Corio Bay. It’s been a rare sight at these championships but finally the sun broke through and up to 18 knots of SSE puffy magic blessed the afternoon session, on Wednesday February 12.

Austria’s Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl tallied an equally low score to the frontrunners and the Spanish duo of Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra finished a strong third overall.

Worth highlighting are the three Danish teams in the top 15, the best of those Mads Emil Lubeck and Nikolaj Hoffman Buhl. A strong USA presence in the top 20 is being spearheaded by Andrew Mollerus and his 49er crew Ian MacDiarmid who are eighth overall.

“It’s the first step getting to gold; the regatta starts now,” MacDiarmid said. “We are checking off the list we have, making sure we get through the regatta - nothing crazy on the scoreboard and no letters; just putting it through well.”

Results are here

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

A day of waiting for two Irish Olympic 49er teams disappointingly ended without any racing at the 2020 world title for the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 classes in Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

The Race Committee monitored conditions on Corio Bay from well before the morning session to late afternoon, 25-30 knots out of the east keeping 49er crews ashore all day playing pool and cards, one eye on the flagpole. Afternoon sessions for the 49erFX and Nacra 17 were abandoned early.

Ireland's Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle and Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove will compete in Geelong on their road to a Tokyo Olympic Trial in Italy in search of the last remaining Olympic berth in April.

Despite four years of hard campaigning, Ireland has still not met the qualification standard for Tokyo. The last chance is at the Euro qualifiers in Genoa in Italy.

The racing schedule for Tuesday, February 11 remains as per the schedule which is 49erFX and Nacras up first and 49er men’s skiffs in the afternoon. The forecast is for lighter winds in the morning then SSW 15-20kts in the afternoon with the chance of thunderstorms.

Dun Laoghaire's Saskia Tidey, now a member of the British Olympic team member and qualified for Tokyo, is competing in the 49erFX.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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British Sailing’s performance director Ian Walker has predicted a five-medal haul for Team GB at this summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In a recent sports podcast conversation, as reported on Sailweb, the boss of the UK’s Olympic sailing squad would not be drawn on what medals they would take home, nor in which class.

But the former Irish Green Dragon skipper, and RYA racing director, did indicate that the team were capable of greater things provided the conditions were more windy than light.

Irish 49erFX sailor Saskia Tidey is among those who will be in contention with Team GB at this summer’s Olympic Games.

She and her sailing partner Charlotte Dobson were selected last October and head to Enoshima as serious medal contenders.

This follows a string of successes since forming their partnership in 2017 when Tidey switched from Team Ireland due to a lack of opportunity here.

Published in Tokyo 2020

Lough Derg Yacht Club’s Laser Radial contender Aisling Keller has been named in the shortlist for Her Sport’s Young Athlete Of The Year gong, voted on by the website’s readers.

She joins a list with nine other remarkable Irish sportswomen who “provided some of the most thrilling and memorable moments, in what was arguably one of our greatest sporting years of all time”.

Keller, who secured her place at the Tokyo Olympics at the Laser Worlds last July, was also named Afloat’s Sailor of the Month (Olympic) for November as is in the running for the overall award next month.

Published in Laser

Irish Sailing National and International Judge Chris Lindsay of Carrickfergus Sailing Club on Belfast Lough has been appointed as an International Technical Official (ITO) for the Tokyo Olympics. Not only will Chris be the only Irish race official in Tokyo, but he’ll also be taking on a brand new role as Video Officiating ITO (International Technical Official).

So what is a Video Officiating International Technical Official?

The Tokyo Olympics will be the first Olympics to have officials with an eye on the screen, using technology to provide a dedicated back up to the on-the-water ITO team. Chris will be working with new software that records the sailing live, and watching all the racing from behind a screen and noting potential rule infringements and other issues for the jury. This information is then available if required in a protest hearing or redress and helps to speed up the process.

Where did the love of umpiring begin?

There are many paths a sailor can take and Chris’s is a little different to most. He started out as a child on big boats at Carrickfergus Sailing Club, learning sailing “hands on”, mainly as there wasn’t much dinghy sailing back then.

While studying chemistry at Oxford, he joined the thriving and competitive world of University Team Racing. Chris describes Team Racing as being reliant on a good knowledge of the rules – it’s not about who’s the fastest, but who can work as a team and use the rules to their advantage. He was drawn to the role of umpire, loving the thrill and adrenaline of driving a rib out on the racecourse and making immediate decisions to keep the racing moving.

Chris is still in Oxford and finishing up a PhD on statins. But he loves nothing more than to spend a weekend working as a judge or race official back in Ireland whenever he can and says “the people I get to work with are the best part. Sitting at the post-event dinner with race officials from around the World and sharing stories. And that thrill and rush of being an umpire is second to none.”

How does a race official reach the heady heights of the Olympics?

Through commitment and hard work. Chris outlines the route he took: “getting the basics of Local Race Umpire, then National Umpire and onto International Umpire, all the while putting each level into practice, being active and in time World Sailing notice your commitment and work”. World Sailing choose the ITOs for the Olympics based on what they have noticed, experience, qualifications and references. There is no application process; instead “you just get a letter in the post informing you that you have been chosen”.

“I am looking forward to seeing what the Olympics is all about, being part of a hugely talented group of ITOs, being in the Olympic Village, watching the opening ceremony and of course the incredible sailing (albeit on-screen). This will be an event like no other.” Chris

Tagged under

Despite a bravo performance by young Dublin skiff sailors who finished in the top quarter of the 88-boat fleet, an Irish Tokyo 2020 berth was not secured in Auckland today.

Four European countries were selected this week in a championship won by multiple Olympic and now five-time world champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke of New Zealand.

Now, in order to make the Tokyo startline at all, the two Irish skiff crews will be forced to scrap it out for one last remaining European country Olympic place to be decided in Genoa, Italy next April. It's a scenario that highlights why qualification at the 2018 Worlds in Aarhus was so important for Ireland two years ago.

Ireland, Belgium and Italy will be contenders for this single place (Ireland finished ahead of both Italy and Belgium this week) and the Irish Olympic representative will be decided by whichever crew qualifies the country, if any.

Team manager James O'Callaghan admits "Genoa will be a dogfight to qualify as it is a notoriously light airs and shifty venue". 

22nd for Dickson & Waddilove

World Under 23 bronze medallists Robert Dickson (Howth YC) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) ended the Gold fleet series in 22nd place overall in their best ever performance at senior level.

Highlights of the week for the Dublin pair were winning the opening race in the qualification round and a day of top ten results in the Gold fleet.

"This is a huge confidence boost, there's no reason we can't be back in the Gold fleet again."

Seaton Wants 'More Racing Experience'

Double-Olympic veteran Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme Yacht Club) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC) didn't make the Gold fleet after losing out on a three-way tie-break on Thursday and sailed the remainder of the 17-race series in the Silver group.

"We're awfully disappointed with how our regatta turned out but very happy to see the young guys make Gold fleet," said Seaton. "But we know what we have to work to improve and it's not boat-speed - more racing experience will allow us to develop roles and better communication between us; we need to stick to our processes on board."

Spain, Austria, The Netherlands and Poland took the four country qualification places available in New Zealand. 

Burling & Tuke Win Fifth World Title

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have won a fifth world title to add to the four consecutive victories they enjoyed between 2013 and 2016. This will be one of the sweetest victories, however, not least because it’s on home waters, but also because of how hard the Kiwis were forced to work for this gold medal.

Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel had made a bit of a mess of the previous day’s racing but the Germans really turned it on at the end of the competition. With Burling/ Tuke forced out of the first Gold Fleet race of the morning due to a broken tiller extension, the Germans had the opportunity to close the points gap. Heil/ Ploessel came from deep in the pack to record a ninth place and then were fast out of the blocks in the next race, winning that one at a canter. Fortunately for home fans Burling/ Tuke had recovered their composure to finish third behind the Germans.

This gave New Zealand an 8-point gap going into the double-points, 10-boat Medal Race, effectively a four-boat buffer on their German rivals. As good as in the bag for the talented New Zealanders, surely...

But no! While racing up the first beat the Germans forced the Kiwis to tack off and Burling slipped from his trapeze handle during the tack to almost capsize. Rounding the windward mark in ninth and out of gold medal position, Burling and Tuke turned on their downwind jets - moving up the fleet and with a few more passes were up into fourth. With the Germans in second there was nothing left that could be done by Heil and Ploessel. Burling and Tuke rose to the occasion despite showing some rare unforced errors, and were pushed hard all the way by Heil and Ploessel. After a bronze medal at the Rio 2016 Games, the Germans have displayed sufficient class to be able to dream of beating the New Zealanders to the top step at Tokyo 2020 next summer.

After looking like they might not even make the 25-boat cut for Gold Fleet earlier in the week, Diego Botin & Iago Marra (ESP) made the comeback of the regatta. The Spanish had a shot at the bronze medal if things went their way, and winning the Medal Race was the best way for them to conclude their time in Auckland. The 2017 World Champions Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell (GBR) looked to be in trouble but the Brits finished 8th in the Medal Race which was sufficient to hang on to the last medal by a single point from the Spanish. At least the Spanish have done enough to secure a spot for the Olympic Games after failing to make the Gold Fleet at the previous Worlds in Denmark.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Page 3 of 8

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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