Dream start for Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove at Tokyo 2020

Seán Waddilove and Robert Dickson.

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Sailors Robert Dickson and Seán Waddilove earned a race win on their Olympic debut in the Men’s skiff event at Tokyo 2020.

The Dublin pair won from Britain and Germany and will lead going into race 2 in the 49er class.

Light and shifting winds delayed racing, including an abandoned race in which the pair were also at the front of the fleet.

The thrilling single race of the day saw the pair gradually improve from fourth place to first over the three laps of the course close to Enoshima Island. The actual finish was delivered with a watery flourish as the Irish crew skidded over the line barely centimetres ahead of the British boat.

“You only have to win by a few centimetres”

“It was pretty close but you only have to win by a few centimetres,” said Robert Dickson of Howth Yacht Club. “We didn’t know (crossing the line) that we’d done it until we came in and Matt (coach McGovern) told us.”

While three races had been planned for the opening day, a near calm followed by shifting wind direction meant a series of delays plus the abandonment of the first race attempt in which the Irish crew also sailed well.

“I feel thrilled, we can’t ask for a better start,” Skerries Sailing Club man Seán Waddilove.  “But you have to remember that this is the very first race and anything could change with eleven races to go, plus a medal race – hopefully.”

The event rules prevent race starts after 5pm local times so racing resumes on Wednesday as scheduled with the missed races added where the programme allows later in the week.

Meanwhile, Annalise Murphy had her best day of the regatta so far with a consistent ninth and ten places partially off-setting her disappointment of the opening two days.

The double-Olympic veteran and Rio Silver medallist moved from 32nd place to 20th overnight and the series will have a rest day on Wednesday. Four further races on Thursday and Friday will decide the top ten places for the medal race final on Sunday.

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