The final World Cup Regatta of the 2012-2013 Sailing Series has come to a close for the two Irish Olympic sailors competing. Although racing continues tomorrow for sailors that made the top 10, Ireland will not be represented in the show down.
Annalise Murphy's poor start to the event ultimately cost her the chance of competing in the final medal races. Another casualty was Chinese Olympic gold medallist Xu Lija whose slow start was also her downfall. Neither girl will be too worried as both the World Championships and Europeans are still to come later in the summer. However, it is clear a lot of work needs to be put in between now and then for Murphy to turn her fortunes around. In the end she blitzed the Silver fleet, as would be expected, and finished the regatta in 29th overall.
Meanwhile in the 113 boat Laser fleet, Northern Ireland’s James Espey got off to an incredible start. Winning the first race, Espey was tied for second place after three races on Day 1. The solid start gave him the platform needed to qualify for the Gold fleet. He showed glimpses of his potential in gold but lacked the consistency to maintain a high overall placing. Nevertheless, he will take great confidence from this performance and it sets him up well for a busy summer schedule. Overall he finished a very respectable 34th.
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Annalise Murphy will compete against 59 of the world’s top Laser Radial sailors next week at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyères, France. The event will mark the final World Cup regatta of the 2012-2013 Sailing Series. From the 22nd to the 27th of April over 800 international sailors campaigning for the 2016 Rio Olympics will compete across 10 classes, hoping to set an early marker at the beginning of a new quadrennial.
Annalise has been training hard since her Olympic debut last summer and admits she learnt a lot from her campaign. The 23 year old recently commented on her experience as part of the Irish Sports Council’s The Journey “There’s a lot going on. You have to be really switched on…It’s kind of made me realise that you have to be pretty ruthless. Up until then I think I’d be a little bit nicer than they would be to me. It’ll definitely stand to me in the next four years. I think they’ve already noticed at the first World Cup event I did this year that you don’t want to mess around with me anymore”.
Joining Murphy on the starting line will be some familiar faces. London 2012 gold medallist Lijia Xu (China) will be returning to the fleet for the first time since her Medal Race victory and also stepping back into a Radial for the first time since earning her silver medal at the 2012 Games is Marit Bouwmeester (Netherlands). The UK’s Alison Young, who finished 5th in London, will also be fighting for a top place finish following her win at the World Cup in Spain earlier this month.
ISA Performance Director James O’Callaghan remarked “It will be great to see the sailors competing again after all the work put in over the winter. We're not looking for results at this stage as our target events are later in the summer“.
In the men’s Laser fleet James Espey, another 2012 Olympian, will also be competing. He’ll face stiff competition from the 118 other sailors all vying for the top spot in the largest of the regatta fleets. Espey, who is campaigning for Rio, recently finished 38th overall at the Spanish World Cup event.