Irish Sailing Team athlete Aoife Hopkins announces campaign retirement.
One of Ireland’s top sailors and former U21 European champion Aoife Hopkins has formally announced her retirement from Olympic campaigning.
The Howth Yacht Club sailor won the U21 ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) European Championships in 2017 and achieved a personal best with 17th place overall at the 2021 ILCA 6 World Championships in Oman. During the event she secured another World Championship race win, a feat first achieved at the Worlds in Denmark, 2018.
Aoife started sailing when she was nine and first represented Ireland at the British Optimist National Championships in 2009 as part of the under 12 squad. She joined the Irish Sailing Academy in 2015 and progressed through the Performance Pathway to became part of the senior Irish Sailing Team in 2017.
Two years later in 2019 it was Aoife’s work along with teammate Aisling Keller at the ILCA 6 Radial World Championships in Japan that secured the nation place for Ireland’s female single handed division at the Tokyo Olympics. In the subsequent trials Annalise Murphy won the only available team place.
A driven athlete and student, Aoife sat her Leaving Cert the same summer she won the U21 European Championships and secured her place at Trinity College Dublin to read maths. At the time she talked about balancing studying and training and how she planned her week ahead in 30 minute blocks which allowed her to be as efficient as possible. In 2019 she moved to UCD and represented the University on the international stage through the Ad Astra Elite Sports Scholarship.
Aoife is a strong supporter and advocate for women in sailing and was a winner at the 2022 Sia Partners Irish Sailing Women at the Helm where she helmed the J80 “Ladies of the Kite” with a team of under 25s. Speaking before the competition she said “Events like these are super important for women in sport and women in sailing….and it’s brilliant to see the turn out today. This is the one event of the year when the women’s changing rooms are busier than the men’s ! It gives women the opportunity to helm boats that they might not have and to actually showcase their skills and what they can do because it’s not really about capabilities it’s about opportunities”.
“Aoife’s decision to call time on a great sailing career is one we fully support although it’s always sad to lose a team member. She has been a consummate professional showing ambition and courage to explore how far she could go in the sport. Not many people take the steps into the senior ranks because of the level of commitment required and she embraced this challenge. We’ve no doubt Aoife will continue on to even more successes in her next career and she will be a support and inspiration to her team mates and younger aspiring athletes. We look forward to seeing what she does next” commented James O’Callaghan, Performance Director with Irish Sailing.