Follow the Irish Sailing Men at the Olympic Qualifier in Tokyo

Follow the Irish Sailing Men at the Olympic Qualifier in Tokyo


Laser Worlds 2019 DAY 6 - Final Day

Laser Standard Mens

Disappointment for Ireland at Olympic qualifier in Japan

In a highly competitive final at the Laser World Championship in Sakaiminato, Japan earlier today (Tuesday 9th July 2019) Ireland were unable to qualify for Tokyo 2020 at this opportunity.

Australia’s Tom Burton, Gold medalist from Rio, took the title followed closely by team mate Mathew Wearn.

Finn Lynch (Bennekerry, Co. Carlow) was best placed to achieve qualification, even on the final day but required two single digit results, form that he previously demonstrated at three big regattas earlier this year.  However, Lynch ended the championship in 40th overall. 

Ewan McMahon (Howth, Co. Dublin) placed a solid 50th for his debut at senior level world championship while Liam Glynn (Bangor, Co. Down) in only his second worlds made the top 100.

"For sure, the result is disappointing, especially after such a strong season," commented James O'Callaghan, Irish Sailing's Performance Director.  "However, sport always has highs and lows, the key thing now is to bounce back and be ready for Genoa.”

O’Callaghan added:  "When you see the strength of nations like Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain (who dominated the top 10 along with France and Germany) it gives you confidence that the "one nation one team” approach is the way forward.  We have a young team of three athletes, all with high potential; we just need to have faith in the process.”

While attention now turns to next week's women's Olympic qualifier at the Laser Radial World Championship, also at Sakaiminato, a detailed debriefing session of the men’s event and the next qualification opportunity at the Sailing World Cup in Genoa in April 2020 will also be a top priority.

The Laser Radial World Championship begins next Thursday (18th July 2019) featuring Aoife Hopkins (Howth, Co. Dublin) and Aisling Keller (Tipperary) both aiming to secure a place for Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Laser Worlds 2019 DAY 5

Laser Standard Mens 

Fighting spirit required for Olympic qualifier in Japan

Just two races remain in the Olympic qualifier at Laser World Championships Gold fleet in Japan.  A strong finish to the event is required from Lynch to keep him in the mix for qualification.

The penultimate day on Monday saw Finn Lynch (Bennekerry, Co. Carlow) end in 37th overall as he was unable to repeat the race winning performance he showed on Sunday.

On his first ever appearance at a senior-level world championship Ewan McMahon (Howth, Co. Dublin) had two back of fleet results that showed him pushing hard for experience including a 'Black flag' disqualification for early starting that masked an excellent top five position early in the race.

“I just want to see the fighting spirit tomorrow," commented Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing's head Laser coach. 

The series concludes in Sakaiminato on Tuesday before a break for a week when the women's Laser Radial World Championship begins with Aoife Hopkins (Howth, Co. Dublin) and Aisling Keller (Tipperary) both aiming to secure a place for Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Laser Worlds 2019 DAY 4

Laser Standard Mens 

Lynch sparks at Olympic qualifier in Japan

The fourth day of the Olympic qualifier at Laser World Championship Gold fleet in Japan today marked moving day for the event as the two Irish sailors started their Gold fleet final series for the top 52 boats in the 156-strong regatta.

On his first ever appearance at a senior-level world championship Ewan McMahon (Howth, Co. Dublin) showed good boatspeed throughout in what is already a strong debut for reaching the Gold fleet.

Finn Lynch (Bennekerry, Co. Carlow) won the eighth race with a 50-metre lead at the finish after starting-well and was with the top five boats at the first mark before pulling ahead.

Currently, Lynch lies 33rd overall having been 50th going into Sunday’s race. 

“He didn’t need to do anything special as he is sailing well,” commented Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing’s head Laser coach.  “He just needed a spark to boost his confidence and that is exactly what he got.”

Laser Worlds 2019 DAY 3

Laser Standard Mens

Two Irish sailors through to Gold fleet at Olympic qualifier in Japan

Ireland’s Ewan McMahon (Howth, Co. Dublin) and Finn Lynch (Bennekerry Co. Carlow) have progressed into the Gold fleet for the top 52 competitors at the Laser World Championship in Japan that is a qualification event for next year’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Six races over the coming three days will decide the finals standings and the next five nations to be included for Japan next year.

While Lynch scored two top 20 places earlier today to stand 50th overall in the 156-strong fleet, it is McMahon who has the best overall Irish placing in 41st place following a 14th and 13th for the day in his first senior World Championship in the class.

Liam Glynn from Bangor was unable to find his opening day form and lies mid-fleet in 77th overall.

“It definitely depends on the wind; with lighter wind anything is possible as the (overall) points are actually quite close,” commented Vasilij Zbogar, Irish Sailing’s head Laser coach.  “ Many good sailors didn’t make the Gold fleet and now we have nothing to lose.  For now, it’s not about the (final) result, it’s about sailing freely and having fun.”

Laser Worlds 2019 DAY 2

Laser Standard Mens

Lynch finds form at Olympic qualifier in Japan

After a faltering start to the Olympic qualification event at the Laser World Championship in Japan, Ireland's Finn Lynch returned to more familiar form earlier today (Friday) by placing tenth and eleventh in his flight.

The results move him from 78th to 46th place overall with two more races on Saturday set to decide the Gold fleet split before the final series of six races begins on Sunday.

Conditions were windier than Thursday with a warm sea breeze of 12-17 knots.

"Finn definitely looked better this morning and he definitely performed although he is still off what he is capable of," commented Vasilij Zbogar, the Irish Sailing head Laser coach.  "He needs to stop thinking of the overall result and just sail race by race."

"I tried to tell him that he doesn’t have to do anything special, just do as he knows and not over-think; if you have too many things in your head then everything can fall apart."

Meanwhile, Ireland's Ewan McMahon moved up to 42nd overall after scoring a 17th and 22nd places for the day.  Liam Glynn dropped from 35th overnight to 65th after two mid-fleet results.

Saturday's races will now be critical to overall Irish hopes for the championship and qualification for Tokyo 2020.  After the sixth race, the top 50 boats overall will form the Gold fleet.

Once the Gold fleet is decided, the task facing Irish sailors who reach this standard will be clearer in terms of what nations have already qualified and those remaining for the five countries to be allocated at this event.

Laser Worlds 2019 DAY 1

Laser Standard Mens

Lynch off-form at start of Olympic qualifier in Japan

Olympic veteran Finn Lynch did not get the start he had hoped for at the Laser World Championships in Japan earlier today.  The event is the second qualification opportunity for the Tokyo Olympics next year.

The Carlow sailor has been in exceptional form at most of his major events this year but was cautious on the starting-line for both races today and ended up finishing outside the top 20 for the first day.

However, Howth's (Co. Dublin) Ewan McMahon placed third in his first race of the series that is also his first senior world championship.  But he was disqualified in the second race for early starting and will drop that score under the discard system later in the regatta.

Liam Glynn of Bangor, Co. Down made good on his pre-event training form by placing in the top ten leading boats in both of his races at the first mark before slipping down the ranks by the finish.

The championship series comprises qualification races until Saturday when the 150+ fleet is split into Gold, Silver and Bronze divisions.  Ireland needs a finisher in the top five unqualified nations that will certainly be drawn from the upper ranks of the Gold fleet.

"Finn has everything he needs to perform but must look beyond the pressure of the event for the remaining races," commented Vasilij Zbogar, the Slovenian triple Olympic medallist who is the Irish squad head Laser coach.  "But I am very pleased with how the younger sailors did on their first day competing at this level."

Racing continues at Sakaiminato-City, Japan on Friday starting at 0300 (Irish Time).  The women's Olympic qualifier/Laser Radial World Championship begins in two weeks time at the same venue.