Moving season for the Performance Team
The EURILCA Senior Men and Women’s Laser European Championships starting next week along with the Laser and 49er World Championships later this autumn mark the “moving season” for our Irish Sailing Performance Team. In golf, the term “moving day” is the point during competition where you are either good enough to stay, or you get sent home. It’s a tough time for the performance athletes as they aim for the best results and funding, and to the outside world, it can seem brutal.
The Olympics in August marked the end of the Tokyo cycle. For some it marked promise for the future, and retirement from future campaigns for others. This autumn the current Paris Olympic hopefuls will either make “the cut” or not. Either way they will evaluate their performance and see how they can improve.
Carding with Sport Ireland
Most of our athletes are at the end of a two-year funding period with Sport Ireland called “carding”. Carding is the financial support given to athletes for their training and competition programmes with the aim of getting medals. Sport Ireland have a range of criteria for results gained at senior (and some U21 or U23 events) events. They identify the events and the results to gain, which have a knock-on effect of identifying the team membership and make-up for Irish Sailing. There’s a very clear equation:
- results reached at specific senior events = funding and membership of the Irish Sailing Team.
From a programme perspective the Sport Ireland carding process and athletes’ funding is binary and based on results at events. In the past two years, some of the athletes have moved from ‘development’ to ‘senior’ and from novice to seasoned campaigners. Younger athletes have broader targets to hit as they gain experience and explore their potential. Our more seasoned athletes are looking to make sure they hit their targets. In the heat of battle they need to focus on process and ignore the stark metrics. For all of them, good results now help set up the campaigns with a secure funding base. Some will be looking to maintain their current carding status and others, to elevate themselves to the next level.
Wide support team
All through the Performance Pathway, sailors are supported by a range of sport science expertise to give them the best chance of success. From coaches who oversee the programme, to strength and conditioning experts, physiotherapists, psychologists, communications professionals to the athlete’s families, there is a strong and multi-faceted support system in place. Sport Ireland is the primary source of funding for the delivery of the programme alongside Department of Sport funding capital. The Irish Sailing Foundation continues to provide generous and vital philanthropic support, and over the years commercial partners have been a key ingredient for success. Alongside that are a broader group of supporting stakeholders, from clubs, families and friends.
The culmination of the autumn events coincides with the completion of Irish Sailing’s systematic and independent review of the 2020 Olympic cycle along with the Sport Ireland and Olympic Federation of Ireland reviews. All three will deliver learnings and recommendations to be incorporated into the Performance Pathway Programme by the Board of Irish Sailing.
Lasers in Bulgaria
The EURILCA Senior Men and Women’s Laser European Championships start racing on Monday 4 October in Varna, Bulgaria. Representing the team are Aoife Hopkins and Eve McMahon in the ILCA 6 (Laser Radial), and Finn Lynch, Liam Glynn and Ewan McMahon in the ILCA 7 (Laser). Also competing in the ILCA 7 is Jamie McMahon.
You can follow results here: https://eurilca.org/2021-senior-european-championships/
Read more on the Sport Ireland scheme here:
Events this autumn:
- EURILCA Senior Laser Men European Championships - 2-9 October - Varna, Bulgaria
- EURILCA Senior Radial Women European Championships - 2-9 October - Varna, Bulgaria
- Europa Cup (Laser Academy) - 23-27 Oct - Hyeres, France
- 29er European Championships - 3-10 Nov - Lake Garda, Italy
- ILCA Laser Standard Men’s World Championships - 3-10 Nov - Barcelona, Spain
- 49er World Championships 16-21 Nov Mussanah, Oman
- 2021 ILCA 6 (Radial) Women's World Championship - 29 Nov-6 Dec - Mussanah, Oman