Friday 19 January 2018

Weymouth medals fire Olympic hopes

IRELAND'S sailing hopes for the Olympic Games received a double boost in Weymouth over the weekend.

Peter O'Leary (Royal Cork YC) and David Burrows (Malahide YC) won gold in the Star keelboat class, defeating a full-strength fleet that counted multiple Olympic medallists and world champions.

Annalise Murphy (National YC) also had cause to be delighted after she won the medal race in the Laser Radial class to take the bronze medal.

Great Britain's Alison Young took gold and Finland's Sari Multala took silver. None of the fleet favourites Lijia Xu, Marit Bouwmeester or Evi Van Acker featured on the podium.

The 49er skiff duo of Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern qualified for the medal race and further lifted their performance to finish seventh overall.

"The challenge now is for the athletes to keep it in perspective," commented James O'Callaghan, ISA performance manager. "They'll need to come down off the high of winning medals at Sail for Gold but I don't have any worries about that."

There has never been any doubt about Murphy's talent, but she has suffered with the occasional bad race which has caused her to just miss out on the podium on several occasions, although she regularly posts top-10 or medal-race results.

Over the past year, her bad race results have been steadily eroded and Saturday's result will be a further boost to her confidence.

Ireland's entire Olympic fleet's work will continue with the task of familiarising themselves with the Olympic venue in the coming weeks.

The technical classes such as Star, 49er and 470 have made their equipment choices and their priorities will be staying fit and healthy to be ready to peak again in six weeks' time.

Irish Independent

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