Sunday 4 December 2016

Murphy hoping for plain sailing in bid to avoid London repeat

Sailing

Published 15/08/2016 | 02:30

Annalise Murphy sits third going into today's medal race. Photo: Sportsfile
Annalise Murphy sits third going into today's medal race. Photo: Sportsfile

Only the most vicious twist of fate stands between Ireland's Annalise Murphy and an Olympic medal this evening.

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After narrowly missing the London 2012 podium, the Dun Laoghaire sailor has once again been in the top three standings in her event all week.

A gruelling 10-race qualification series ended on Saturday with Murphy in third overall and within touching distance of second place.

In fact, as today's final counts for double-points, she effectively is in joint-silver position with Denmark's Anne-Marie Rindom.

However, 10 points ahead is Marit Bouwmeester, the London 2012 silver medallist who Murphy would have to beat by five places to dislodge her from the gold spot.

Regardless of the Dutch sailor's result, she is the only one of five possible contenders in the 10-boat race assured of a medal.

The past week has witnessed a remarkable transformation of Murphy into an all-round sailing athlete, replacing the mastery she displayed at London 2012 with more consistent performances inside the top six places in her class.

Like every other sailor that started in the 36-strong field she has had her shock results, her worst being an 18th place.

However, there were other surprising results in the event as well, notably the complete absence of the London 2012 Gold medallist Lijia Xu in the medal race final 10, despite leading the event at the midway point.

That arose from disqualification from both of Friday's races after she lost protests for rule infringements. She crashed out of the regatta on Saturday in 18th overall.

However, the depth of the fleet in the final is also reflected by the current world champion, Britain's highly fancied Alison Young, who squeezed back into the medal race on Saturday by winning the 10th race of the qualification round.

American Paige Railey, runner-up in the World Championships, also barely made the final, placing 10th despite flashes of form.

For Murphy, her focus will be maintaining a podium finish and not slipping out of the medal positions.

Irish Independent

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