Irish just miss out on Tokyo qualification

It was a case of so near, so far for Ireland at the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark yesterday as the finals series of the event drew to a close.

Irish just miss out on Tokyo qualification

David Branigan

It was a case of so near, so far for Ireland at the Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark yesterday as the finals series of the event drew to a close.

While two Irish boats qualified for the upper echelons of their classes into Gold fleets and both won rare race wins, neither was enough to qualify Ireland for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at this first offering.

Another smaller round of places will be on offer in 2019, when the close results of some of the Irish squad over the past week, plus hoped-for improvements in form over the coming year, could clinch these places.

Ireland’s best hope was Finn Lynch from Carlow in the Laser event. At 19, he was the youngest competitor to compete in the Laser at Rio 2016. Two years on, his confidence and form has moved up a gear, but consistency proved elusive over the past week.

Looking back, I really let this one slip, because I was really sailing good enough to do it. It’s a constant learning process, but this is a tough one to take now. One [bit] of bad luck, one OCS (on-course side disqualification) and its pretty much over.

That bit of bad luck was in the ninth race on Wednesday when he had been in about 20th place until another competitor was pushed into him and their rigging became snagged. By the time they were untangled, he was at the back of the fleet and placed 45th for the race.

While such incidents are relatively rare, the loss of places equates to the points he could have needed to qualify for Tokyo.

Certainly, had he not also had a 46thplace as well in the qualifying round last week then almost certainly there would have been celebrations. So near, so far.

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