Annalise Murphy wins opening Olympic race and now lies fourth overall

After a run of less than winning form in the lead-in to the Olympic Games, Ireland’s Annalise Murphy won the opening race of the women’s single-handed event at Rio de Janeiro yesterday.

The London 2012 veteran, who narrowly missed a medal four years ago, defeated all three medallists from the last games to enjoy a 21 second lead at the finish of the 50- minute race.

Murphy’s fleet of 37 boats had two general recalls before the race got underway and the Rathfarnham sailor was eighth at the first mark. By the second lap of the course, she had worked up to first place. However, in race two of the day, she placed 14th overall that places her fourth overall. The qualification round comprises 10 races to decide the top 10 athletes who will sail a single medal race final next week.

Murphy will need consistent top 10 places to achieve a place in the final and higher to remain in contention for a podium place. After coming ashore at Marina da Gloria yesterday evening, she admitted her performance was far from perfect.

“I didn’t sail perfectly at all, I definitely can improve on things so I’ll look at that and then forget about the day because every day with the different race courses is completely different so you can’t look at one day and think it’s going to be the same the next,” she said. Her class is currently led by London 2012 Gold medallist Lijia Xu from China who posted a consistent third and fourth place for the day.

Similarly, The Netherlands Marit Boumeester, the silver medallist from four years ago also had a sixth and fifth to lie second overall.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s youngest ever Olympic helm and the youngest sailor in the Men’s event went into action yesterday with a solid debut performance.

Carlow’s Finn Lynch had a 14th place in the opening race followed by a 27th in his 46-strong class. He lies 21st overall after day one. Racing continues for the single-handers today while Ireland’s other sailors in both the men’s and women’s skiff events begin racing on Friday.

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