Annalise Murphy today finished 23rd overall at the Women’s Laser Radial World Championship in Rizhao, China. The regatta produced an interesting podium line-up as not one of the top five sailors from the 2012 Olympics medalled. China’s own Olympic Gold medallist Lijia Xu managed to scrape into the top 10 finishing in 9th overall. After the six days of competition it was Croatia’s Tina Mihelic that took the Senior World title adding to her ISAF Youth World title from 2008.
The light, steady breeze of between 6 to 8 knots coupled with the swell and waves made the event more suited to specialists of those conditions rather than those that perform across a range of conditions. Far from being an "unfair" event, the results clearly show that the young sailors coming through the ranks will be challenging the established pecking order all the way to Rio. There was also a resurrection in the form of the once dominant, 2005 World Champion Paige Railey (USA) who picked up a Bronze medal.
The event draws to a close what has been an outstanding 2013 season for 23 year old Annalise Murphy who took home a total of three Gold medals and one Bronze. Murphy began her winning streak in May when she claimed her first medal of the year, a Gold, at the Italian Open Week. That followed quickly by yet another Gold medal in May at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Holland. Returning to the London Games host venue in Weymouth in June, Murphy scooped up a Bronze and then most recently won her final 2013 Gold medal at the Laser Radial European Championship in September.
Murphy will compete in up to six major regattas in 2014 but the main focus will be the ISAF World Championship taking place in Santander, Spain next September. This will be the first opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
ISA Performance Director James O’Callaghan remarked “The Europeans was always our peak event this year and it was great to see Annalise so dominant there in a wide range of conditions. Such is the level of talent now in the class, the Worlds has clearly demonstrated there is not much time for rest. Annalise has a strong winter programme to further improve her skills for the 2014 season“.
November will host the final Olympic event for Providence Team IRL as Northern Irish sailor James Espey travels to Oman for the Men’s Laser World Championship. Meanwhile 49er duo Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern will be spending three weeks in Rio familiarising themselves with the Olympic venue.
For full results see www.rizhaolaserworlds2013.com