McGovern dream comes true

FOUR years ago Matt McGovern was left disappointed to miss out on Olympic qualification by one point.

Yesterday he and young 49er skiff helm Ryan Seaton suffered a nailbiting wait before organisers of Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships finally confirmed today’s schedule.

Choosing last night to impose the cut between Gold and Silver fleet after eight qualifying races, the young Irish duo have now made it into the Gold fleet in an impressive 10th place, and consequently qualify the nation for a place in the 49er fleet at next year’s Olympic Regatta, off Weymouth and Portland.

“It is a great relief, said a smiling McGovern. “Of course it is just a box checked off along the way but it is a weight off. Last time we missed out by one point and were sailing well below our level. So this time we have been careful not to be always looking over our shoulders at what we need, but to concentrate solely on each race as it comes, being strong in our processes and confident in our ability.

“Our aim here really is to finish up in the top 10 and we are there just now. If you can get there and sail well, then you can be in with a shout for the medals.”

The 49er skiff duo put in another strong shift yesterday to post a pair of fifth places in difficult light to moderate breeze conditions, which saw several top seeds post some weighty scores.

“To be fair, the other fleet had it a little harder. It was very hot, humid and shifty for them. But we did well. We concentrated on getting good starts and once again steering the boat fast and cleanly and going the right way. One thing is when it is light is that fleet tends to go at the same speed and so if you get it wrong to start with, then it is very hard to get back.”

Seaton added: “We have put more time into our boatwork, our rig and sail selection and that has helped us to really focus on boat speed and trim and that really is helping on the water. when we have found ourselves in tricky situations we have been able to get out of them and that really has helped.”

Irish Sailing Association performance director James O’Callaghan said: “It’s a brilliant result for the guys, to be in sixth nation position and to have secured Olympic qualification at this stage is something special.”

In contrast to the young 49er duo the Star duo of Peter O’Leary and David Burrows find themselves rather too close to the Olympic qualifying cut for comfort after a lacklustre day, posting a 16th and 24th. In the second race they were well up the fleet on the first rounds.

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