| 12.8°C Dublin

Espey sets the standard by qualifying for Rio Games

Close

In attendance at the Irish Sailing Team Announcement for the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Qualifiers is James Espey

In attendance at the Irish Sailing Team Announcement for the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Qualifiers is James Espey

SPORTSFILE

In attendance at the Irish Sailing Team Announcement for the upcoming Rio 2016 Olympic Qualifiers is James Espey

As the Laser single-handers take a rest day in the ISAF Sailing World Championships at Santander, Ireland's prospects for Rio 2016 have already started to take shape with the early qualification for the nation in the Laser Standard rig.

James Espey from Ballyholme reached the grade after four races when he moved into the Gold fleet in his 150-strong fleet on Saturday.

A veteran from London 2012 when he qualified at the eleventh hour just months before the games, this time he delivered the performance with two years to spare at the first attempt.

While there are another four days of racing left in his event in Spain this week, he can now switch to working on maximising his performance for the conditions in Rio.

Meanwhile, Annalise Murphy recovered from a potentially disastrous opening day to the worlds on Friday when she finished 86th out of 120 boats in the women's Laser Radial class.

The Rathfarnham sailor would normally feature in the top ten medal race standings after a championship grade regatta but even a place in the Gold fleet was on the line going into Saturday's programme.

Although light and fickle conditions persisted, she managed to turnaround her results with a ninth and a seventh in her flight, bouncing her up the ranks to 41st overall and importantly inside the Gold fleet cut-off.

However, yesterday saw her slip to 45th overall after a 37th place in the single race of the day in which she had been holding ninth at one stage.

A second race for the day had been planned but thunderstorms upset the schedule and while there was talk of holding Race 6 this morning for the fleet instead of the expected rest day, the programme for the other classes is likely to take priority.

That schedule means the high-performance skiffs will be in action featuring Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern in the 49er Men's event while Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey will start the women's 49erFX series.

Indo Sport