Olympic boost as Irish Sailing Performance HQ opens in Dun Laoghaire
- First ever HQ for sailing team will enhance international medal prospects and qualification for the Olympics 2020
- Olympic medallist Annalise Murphy and six world championship medallists among leading sailors based there.
- Fully mobile HQ will be shipped to competitions, including Tokyo Olympics.
Ireland’s hopes of delivering medals at the Tokyo Olympics have received a boost with the official opening of the Irish Sailing High Performance Headquarters in Dún Laoghaire.
The first ever base for the senior Irish Sailing Team was launched today on the grounds of the Commissioners of Irish Lights, in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The facility was constructed at a cost of €300,000 and funded entirely by the Irish Sailing Foundation.
Thirteen sailors from throughout Ireland will be based there, including 2016 Olympic Games silver medallist Annalise Murphy, her new sailing partner, Katie Tingle, from Cork, and six other world championship medallists.
The Performance HQ is entirely mobile. It consists of three converted shipping units with space for briefings and athlete education, a gym, gear storage and a boat maintenance area. The athlete briefing room can be shipped directly to international competitions, including the Tokyo Olympics, and will provide a base for Ireland’s sailing athletes overseas. Outside, there will be a boat park and a pontoon for launching the boats.
Speaking at the launch, Annalise Murphy said: “Having this new base is fantastic. For the first time we have a home, somewhere we know we can train, share experiences and focus as a group on how we can make our sailing performances better. It will be a huge support to our campaigns at international events this year as we look to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“We’ve got a saying, ‘Leave home stronger’, which is there to remind us that we’ve got a home to come back to where we can recover, gain strength and prepare for the next campaign. That’s what the new HQ gives us – it means we don’t need to rely on the nomadic overseas campaigns of the past.”
The new HQ will improve both training and educational opportunities for the sailors. It has been instituted with the specific aim of maximising Ireland’s medal potential in international competitions and qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing Performance Head Coach, said that it represents a massive step forward on the journey to medal-winning success for Irish Sailing.
He said: “We will finally have a place we can call ‘home’ and for that reason alone the impact of the new Irish Sailing Performance HQ cannot be underestimated. The environment created will allow for consistent coaching, a base for equipment and our own direct access to the water, which all adds up to giving our athletes the best opportunities to reach their maximum medal-winning potential in the long-term.
This is a major milestone for Irish performance sailing. The new HQ clearly demonstrates the positive impact philanthropy can have on a sport like sailing. We are delighted that private individuals believe in our vision of delivering consistent medal success for Ireland on the world stage”.
The new HQ was officially opened today by Mary Mitchell O’Connor, Minister of State for Higher Education. Ms Mitchell O’Connor commented: “I have no doubt that with this terrific new facility, Irish sailors will be stronger as a squad and be better positioned than ever before to mount successful campaigns at international events in 2019 and beyond, including at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. I would like to wish the senior squad the best of luck and look forward to them building on the incredible international success they have experienced up to now. “
The CEO of Irish Sailing, Harry Hermon, added: “The creation of the Performance HQ is great news – there is no doubt that we’re at the beginning of a new chapter in the story of Irish Sailing, delivering on the medal-winning potential that the facility will help shape and focus. Clearly, however, this new home for the Performance team would not have been possible without the generosity and far-sightedness of those who, through the Irish Sailing Foundation, funded the project.
Competitive sailing requires incredible dedication and sacrifice from the athletes, their families and supporters, and Irish Sailing and its chances of success on a global stage rely on the vision and philanthropy of a group of individuals to whom we are extremely grateful.”