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Displaying items by tag: Tokyo 2020

49erfx crew Saskia Tidey from the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire Harbour will be among the British Sailing Team’s Tokyo 2020 athletes attractions at the RYA Dinghy Show as it goes virtual for the first time over the weekend of February 27 and 28.

They’ll feature within two days of talks, demonstrations and coaching sessions from some big names in sailing.

As regular Afloat readers will know, Tidey sailed for Ireland in Rio four years ago before deciding to move to Team GB for Tokyo 2020 due to lack of opportunities at home.

With just five months until the rescheduled Tokyo 2020 Olympics is set to begin, Tidey and the team will take visitors behind the scenes of the Olympic campaigns.

Taking to the main stage, reigning 470 Olympic and world champion Hannah Mills will be chatting with show host Hannah Diamond about her preparations for Tokyo 2020 and revealing how she’s dealt with the challenges over the last year.

In a separate session, Team GB 49er sailors Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell will be joined by Olympic test event 49erFX class runners up Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey to talk about their roads to Tokyo 2020.

For windsurfing fans, BST coach Sam Ross interviews Team GB RS:X stars Emma Wilson and Tom Squires, plus Olympian Dave Hackford joins them to discuss the new watersports – including wing foiling – that have taken off in the UK.

iQFOiL athlete Saskia Sills talks sustainability with The Green Blue’s Kate Fortnam, looking at how all water users can ‘protect their playground’, while Stu Bithell will make his much-anticipated return to the microphone to provide commentary for the eSailing Winter Club Championship.

Meanwhile, RYA Racing Director Ian Walker will hear from Rio 2016 Nacra 17 gold medallist Santiago Lange, London 2012 Laser Radial gold medallist Xu Lijia, 1984 Finn gold medallist and America’s Cup star Russell Coutts and double gold medallist Shirley Robertson.

Over in the Knowledge Zone, two-time Olympian Ali Young will be joined by her fellow Tokyo 2020 Team GB ILCA sailor Elliot Hanson and European Championship bronze medallist Lorenzo Chiavarini to reveal their top racing tips.

British Sailing Team meteorologist Simon Rowell returns for another of his hugely popular talks about weather. For those interested in race strategy, top tactician Mark Rushall will disclose his secrets for getting round the course quicker.

And British Sailing Team performance psychologists Suze Burton-Wylie and Chelsea Orme will reveal how to stay calm on the start line in their talk, Decision Making Under Pressure.

The full Dinghy Show schedule is online.

Published in Royal Irish Yacht Club
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Irish Olympic Sailing boss James O’Callaghan was in climes sunnier than the team’s Dun Laoghaire Harbour Olympic Sailing HQ when he reported back to the Olympic Federation of Ireland last week on successful results achieved at January's training regatta in the Canary Islands.

As Afloat reported previously, Annalise Murphy took fifth overall in the ILCA Six class and Finn Lynch seventh in the ILCA Seven class at the Lanzarote Winter Series, a regatta that grew in significance in the pandemic. As the international calendar is disrupted for a second year, the January event gave Murphy, Lynch and other Irish campaigners the chance to be back on the race course for the first time since October's European Championships in Poland.

It is reported that conditions in Lanzarote are very similar to those the sailors will face in Hiroshima, Tokyo, where the sailing events of the next Olympic Games will be held in late July. So much so, that even Japanese teams have decided to change their home for the Canary Islands to prepare for the big event. "Lanzarote is very similar to Hiroshima, with a lot of wind and big waves. Moreover, here we have sun, good weather every day and a lot of activities that allow us to prepare ourselves outside of the water as well. That is why we decided to come to the Canary Islands," says Eri Hatayama, a Japanese Nacra 17 sailor.

The Team Ireland Performance Director for Sailing said it was a ‘great opportunity to continue the training’ and to 'keep the sailors busy and focussed on the job'.

O’Callaghan said there was some ‘uncertainty in the air’, as the Olympic circuit was curtailed by COVID. It's a situation made even more uncertain by the fact that Ireland has only one boat qualified (Laser Radial/ILCA Six) for Tokyo so far. The two other berths Ireland still seeks are totally reliant on Euro qualification regattas, one of which was postponed last week.

Having missed earlier qualification chances as far back as 2018 Ireland’s chances are now tied to the onset of the pandemic across Europe and the hope that the remaining places can be settled by racing rather than historical results as the staging of the Games itself comes under scrutiny.

For the moment, O'Callaghan says he is 'ploughing ahead' with team plans. 

See the youtube clip below.

Annalise Murphy's Lanzarote Winter Regatta

Meanwhile, the National Yacht Club's Murphy has given her own candid assessment of her Canary Island performance on social media.

In an honest review, uncomplicated by coach-speak, the Rio medalist declared "I am very happy with some aspects of my sailing but somehow I can still be a total idiot when racing, even though I feel that at 30 years of age I should be making less stupid mistakes!"

She signed off the Instagram self-appraisal by thanking the host club and congratulating Denmark's Anne Marie Rindom on her Lanzarote victory, a sailor Murphy beat in Rio to win Olympic silver four years ago.

Published in Tokyo 2020

The hope is that racing will decide the final Olympic berths in the 49er class in which Ireland is one of four countries hoping to progress to Tokyo but uncertainty surrounds this as COVID threatens to cancel the Princesa Trofeo Sofia qualification regatta in Palma de Mallorca, now just 56 days away.

Ireland is vying with Belgium, Sweden and Italy for the one remaining European place. Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle and Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove both chasing the elusive Olympic place for Ireland. Form at the 2020 Worlds suggested that Irish sailors would be favourites having finished ahead of the other three candidates. 

Palma 2021 decision

Insiders are saying a decision on Palma is expected next week as organisers on the Spanish island look at options to separate the fleets into two shifts per day in order to keep a maximum number of sailors below the limit Spain sets for gatherings but that's easier said than done at a regatta that regularly attracts 1500 sailors from 30 countries or more.

Already the Abu Dhabi qualifier for the Asia and African qualification is cancelled and participants there say efforts are being made to see if Oman can host an alternative regatta in March.

In Europe, if Palma is cancelled there is no 'Plan B' as such, other than to try and redesignate the Olympic qualifier at France's Hyeres Regatta in April or the 49er European Championships in Greece, just two months ahead of the Games itself.

Historical results

If all that fails, World Sailing has said it will rely on historical results to decide the final berths as Afloat previously reported here.

It's all a long way from where everyone hoped they would be in 2021 in this fight against the pandemic.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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Annalise Murphy, Ireland's only sailor qualified for Tokyo so far, dropped back to fifth overall at the end of the ten race Lanzarote Winter Series Regatta today, having held second overall in the ILCA 6 fleet until the penultimate day. 

Lighter conditions did not suit the Dun Laoghaire Olympic silver medalist who had an ultra-consistent opening seven-race results of 3, 2, 2, 2, 1, 6, 4 before counting a 33, 17, 19 and 20.

Counting six race wins in her tally, Anne Marie Rindom of Denmark topped the training regatta and was followed home by 2017 Under-21 world champion Maria Erdi of Hungary. Third was Vasileia Karachaliou of Greece. 

Murphy's training partner, 16-year-old Eve McMahon of Howth Yacht Club was 24th in the 40-boat fleet.

Results here.

Published in Annalise Murphy

The National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch recovered to a strong sixth from his ninth overall position going into the final day of racing in the ILCA 7 (men's Laser) fleet of 31 boats at the Lanzarote Winter Series Regatta today.

After ten races plus today's light air medal race, the Rio Olympian ended the training regatta some 17 points off fifth overall but ahead of Dutch sailor Duko Bos, and Switzerland's Eliot Merceron both main rivals for one of the final Tokyo qualification berths.

Race win for Tom Higgins

The regatta saw a return to the water for Royal St. George's Tom Higgins after an absence of two days and a what a return he made, winning race ten of the series to beat among others Brazilian legend Robert Scheidt. Scheidt, the holder of two gold medals, two silver medals and a bronze from five Olympic Games, finished second overall to France's Jean-Baptiste Bernaz.

Howth Yacht Club's Ewan McMahon who lost a day due to injury finished 26th.

The regatta takes the Irish men's Laser team a step closer to Hyeres Regatta in April where there are two final Olympic spots available at the planned European Sailing Cup. Up to six countries are in the running – Slovenia, Switzerland, Spain, Netherlands and Belgium and Ireland with Ireland finishing behind all of these at the latest World Championships but, significantly, top of those competing this week in Lanzarote. 

Results are here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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The Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) continue to plan for a “very different type” of Olympic and Paralympic Games experience in Tokyo this summer.

The OFI released a statement on Friday night after hosts Japan and the International Olympic Committee earlier stood firm on their commitment to host the Tokyo Olympics this year and denied a report of a possible cancellation.

From an Irish Olympic sailing point of view, the planning for the Tokyo Olympic Regatta this July therefore also continues.

Ireland's Annalise Murphy is the only Tokyo qualified sailor at this point. The Rio silver medalist gave an update on training in lockdown to the Irish Laser class agm late last year as Afloat reported here.

Despite four year campaigns under their belts, both the Irish men's Laser and 49er crews are rueing earlier missed chances to qualify in their respective classes.

As a result, two Irish Olympic dinghy berths in Tokyo hang on last-minute bids to secure berths at European qualifiers this Spring.

European Qualification for Irish Laser and 49er?

As Afloat previously reported, four nations are in contention for just one 49er place, including Ireland. In the Laser, two places are available with a 'bunch of five or six nations' including Ireland chasing them.

Adding more doubt to qualification, however, are questions now also being expressed about whether these last qualifiers can be held. The venues are scheduled for Palma, Mallorca for the 49ers and Hyeres, France for the Lasers at the same time as stronger lockdowns emerge in both countries.

As Afloat reported recently, the Irish Laser men were training in Malta this January. They plan to go on to Lanzarote in the Canaries at the end of the month for more competition, and then there’s a further diversion for a challenge on Croatia in the buildup to the final Olympic qualifier in Hyeres in April.

Historical results

World Sailing says the sport aims to complete its outstanding qualification events for Africa, Asia and Europe before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021 but if that proves unworkable the world body also said it would allocate the remaining 15% of quota places using 'historical results' as Afloat previously reported here.

Statement from the Olympic Federation of Ireland

RECENT COMMENTS IN THE MEDIA ABOUT TOKYO

Friday 22 January 2021: The IOC and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee has made a very strong and clear statement that they are fully committed to the successful delivery of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo this year.

Overnight media reports claimed incorrectly that a private decision had been made by the Government of Japan to cancel the Olympic Games.

The Japanese Government has stated categorically that this is not true.

The Olympic Federation of Ireland has also been very clear on this subject in recent weeks. We remain fully of the view, based on regular updates from the Tokyo organisers, that the Games will go ahead in July this year. We do feel that the Games will be very different, with stringent countermeasures in place to safeguard athletes.

Our focus remains on ensuring that our athletes are prepared and ready for this different type of games experience, accounting for the numerous Covid-19 countermeasures, along with vaccination programme.

Our intention is to circulate the most accurate and up to date news as it comes to us and to detail how that impacts the preparations of Team Ireland’s athletes and support staff. To this end we will be scheduling further briefings in our series of Tokyo Ready updates for the media in coming weeks.  

In addition, the IOC will be holding a briefing for members of the media on 27 January.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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The head of the organising committee for the London Olympics in 2012 has said the Tokyo Games scheduled for this summer look “unlikely” to go ahead.

As the Guardian reports, Sir Keith Mills told the BBC he “would be making plans for cancellation” if he were in charge of this year’s Olympics, postponed from 2020 over the coronavirus pandemic that has shown little sign of dissipating as a slow vaccine rollout begins.

Japan is currently under a state of emergency prompted by a surge in Covid-19 cases, just six months before thousands of athletes are set to converge for the Olympiad.

A significant number of competitors have yet to qualify for Tokyo 2020, including the likes of Irish Laser sailor Ewan McMahon, Rio rep Finn Lynch as well as Liam Glynn all vying for one fo the last Tokyo berths along with Ireland’s two 49er campaign duos.

Despite the present situation, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said he was confident the Games will go ahead “but they will look different”.

Last week a spokesperson for the Tokyo organising committee insisted there had been no discussion about a cancellation or extended delay.

The committee’s head Yoshiro Mori said postponing the Games a second time would be “absolutely impossible”.

The Guardian has more on the story HERE.

As Ireland's two 49er campaigns prepare for their last chance to win an Olympic berth in Tokyo, details of the final major championship of the 2020 Quadrennial have been announced in Greece.

After four years of campaigning, minds have been focussed in the Irish camp with the news that the 49er’s Tokyo Olympic qualifier has been confirmed as the Princesa Sofia regatta in Palma, Spain – 26 March – 3 April 2021.

As Afloat previously reported, there are four nations in contention for just one skiff place, including Ireland.

Two Irish boats are up against Sweden, Italy and Belgium. Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle and Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove both chasing the elusive Olympic place.

The teams are currently training at the Irish winter base in Villamoura, Portugal with the Princesa Sofia crunch regatta just 70 days away.

If either of the Irish boats is successful in Palma, there is no doubt they will be heading to Thessaloniki, Greece from May 4-9, 2021 for the 49er, European Championships. Just two months ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, it is expected to be the final chance for Olympians to get into racing form and for the next generation of aspiring Olympians to catch the favourites before they head onto the World Stage.

The regatta will be hosted by the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki is the oldest Nautical club in all of Greece, a country rich a rich history at sea. The club has sent members to the Olympics as long ago as 1948 and more recently has been a centre of 470 and Tornado sailing in Greece. In hosting the 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 European Championship, NCTH will continue this Olympic spirit in the modern double-handed classes.

It is expected that most Olympic contenders will attend, while the Organising Authority understands the need to be careful in bringing people together and of the many travel restrictions in place globally. Onshore activities will be limited and done electronically for the most part, while on water racing activities will simulate the regular racing environment as much as possible.

Path to Paris 2024 Regatta

2021 initiates the Path to Paris, and many new and younger teams are expected to join the racing aiming toward the 2024 Olympics. Four years out from the Olympics is typically when many sailing campaigns get started, and 2021 should be no different.

Published in Tokyo 2020
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In an update from the Olympic Federation of Ireland, Rowing has qualified a record number of boats for the 2021 Olympics, with four boats heading to Tokyo, and still a good chance to get one or two more in the final qualification regatta before the Games.

The boats are:

Women’s Single Scull – Sanita Puspure finished first in the World Championships 2019

Men’s Lightweight Double Scull – Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy finished first in the World
Championships 2019

Men’s Double Scull – Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne finished second in the World Championships 2019

Women’s Pair – Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska finished eleventh in the World Championships 2019

Rowing Ireland are still targeting two boats in the European qualifying regatta next year:

Women’s Four (W4-) there are two spots available.

Women’s Lightweight Double (LW2X) there are two spots available

Published in Rowing
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In the hunt for the last Olympic berth for Toyko next year, the Irish under-23 duo of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove have, for a second time in a fortnight, beaten double Olympian Ryan Seaton sailing with Seafra Guilfoyle at an international regatta.

In their first Olympic campaign, the Howth and Skerries duo finished 18th overall at the European Championships on Lake Attersee in Austria this afternoon leaving the Belfast and Cork combination of Seaton and Guilfoyle ten places behind in 26th overall in the 55-boat fleet. 

At Kiel Week Regatta in northern Germany, on September 15th, the Dublin pairing finished 14th, some 13 places ahead of Seaton and Guilfoyle who had a silver fleet finish in 27th place in the 52-boat fleet. 

Seafra Guilfoyle (left) and Ryan Seaton finished 26th at the Lake Attersee 49er Europeans. Photo: Tobias StoerkleSeafra Guilfoyle (left) and Ryan Seaton finished 26th at the Lake Attersee 49er Europeans. Photo: Tobias Stoerkle

It's a satisfying result for the former U23 49er world champions as they seek Olympic qualification early next season but it is tempered by the fact that the other three nations chasing the final Tokyo place all finished ahead of them. Italy finished seventh, Belgium eighth and Sweden 17th and that is an urgent reminder to the Irish teams of the work that lies ahead if Ireland is to be on the Tokyo startline next July. 

A third Irish team competing, Sean Donnelly and Marcus O'Leary of Dun Laoghaire, placed 48th.

Fischer and Graf cling on to win 49er European Title

Tim Fischer and Fabian Graf have become European Champions in the 49er, despite a wobbly finish to their regatta. A bit like their German counterparts in the 49erFX, Fischer and Graf clocked up two useful scores earlier in the day with 3,2 but then faded in the final two heats with 13,11.

The Lake Attersee fleet line up for a 49er Euros start Photo: Tobias StoerkleThe Lake Attersee fleet line up for a 49er Euros start Photo: Tobias Stoerkle

In the final race, it looked like the recovery of the regatta was about to crowned with the best possible finish for local heroes Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl. On day one, Hussl had been so ill that the Austrian team’s coach stepped in at the front with Bildstein. They were sitting outside of the top 10 with a mountain to climb if they were to have a chance of getting on to the podium. With Hussl recovered and the team back together, they started to put together a solid set of scores.

At the final bear away of the regatta, the Austrians rounded next to an Irish team in 4th place. The simultaneous gybe-set would have gone fine except the Irish trawled the gennaker. In trying to avoid their suddenly-stopped rivals the Austrians capsized! They slipped six places to 10th. The losing margin to the Germans was just 3 points. If only Bildstein and Hussl had avoided the Irish - but that’s yacht racing at the highest level. A game of small margins.

For the Croatian brothers, Šime and Mihovil Fantela, it was also a case of what might have been when they discovered that their race win in the first heat of the morning was a U-Flag disqualification for breaking the start line just a fraction early. The 2018 World Champions had to be satisfied with a bronze medal in Lake Attersee. A race win in the final heat lifted Jonas Warrer and Jakob Precht of Denmark to fourth overall.

Results here

Published in Tokyo 2020
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