Star duo qualify third boat for Olympics

PETER O’LEARY and David Burrows finish their Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships with mixed emotions.

An impressive fightback in their second race yesterday brought them 12th overall, two places short of a spot in the medal race which was well within their expectations from this regatta.

But finishing as ninth nation, they secure Ireland’s place in the Star keelboat class for the 2012 Olympic Regatta.

O’Leary said: “We just managed to get the job done. But we definitely went about it the hard way and we both have a few more grey hairs to show for it. It was nice to do a bit better today and be a little more consistent.

“I think we did keep our heads well all the way through the regatta. It was the kind of event where you could completely lose it if results did not go your way.

“In the second race we were in a lot of traffic and infringed the Spanish and so we did a two spins penalty, the low risk option, but we did not panic.

“Downwind we tend to have a bit of pace and it worked,” he added

James O’Callaghan, Irish sailing’s performance director said: “It has been a very successful championship. We came here to qualify in three classes and we have done that. Each of the individual teams worked very hard.

“We have a very detailed plan with our Sports Council’s backing and their funding and support has been essential.”

The 49er duo of Matt McGovern and Ryan Seaton lie 12th in the skiff fleet and need a final push over their three races today if they are to make the top 10 for the medal race final.

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