Final update from Ready Steady Tokyo, the Olympic Test Event in Enoshima, Japan.
The Irish Sailing Team competed in Enoshima, Japan, in the Olympic Test event - “Ready Steady Tokyo”. This is a trial run for the Olympics themselves – a chance for the organisers to test out facilities, courses and pressure test the logistics involved one year out from the Olympics. It’s also a chance for the athletes to get a sense of the conditions – both on and off the water. For example, the heat at this time of the year is in the 30s C and very humid; the food is different (a lot of fish); and the athletes have to sleep on futons. 49ers Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove have described how they cool down on the water (a lot of ice in their rash vests), and having a canopy on the boat to protect them from the sun.
Each nation has one entry per class, but we were allowed two in the Laser Radials. That means Ireland was represented by: Aisling Keller and Aoife Hopkins Sailing (Laser Radial); Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove (49er) Annalise Murphy Sailing and Katie Tingle (49erFX) and Finn Lynch Sailing (Laser).
A strong finish on the last race by Finn Lynch in the Lasers was not quite enough to secure a medal race position. A fourth top ten placing however in the final race will greatly encourage the County Carlow native. He finished 5th in the final race, and 13th overall in an exceptionally strong field.
In the Laser Radials a promising first mark rounding by Aisling Keller ultimately did not materialise in the final result. Despite showing moments of top racing, no doubt Aisling and Aoife (Hopkins) will have a long "to do" list before competing again next week at the World Sailing World Cup in the same venue. While Annalise Murphy and Katie Tingle gained a few good positions in the 12 races, they didn't make the medal race and came in at 13th place overall.
You can listen to a great interview with coach Ross Killian talking about the Olympic qualification for the Laser Radials with Dublin City FM’s "On The Ball" HERE.