Irish sailors in Olympic qualifier in Japan today

Carlow Olympic veteran and U19 World Champion in the Laser in 2014, Finn Lynch, leads Irish hopes at the start of the Laser World Championship in Sakaiminato-City, Japan, today, with 159 competitors from 58 countries in action.

The three-boat Irish squad this week was the first overseas team to become established at the venue and the trio have fully adjusted to the conditions, afloat and ashore.

“It’s been much smoother than I expected,” commented Vasilij Zbogar, the Slovenian triple Olympic medallist who is the Irish Sailing head Laser coach, “We now have good knowledge of the local wind and currents in the race area.”

Lynch has had a strong year so far, having delivered top ten results at three consecutive regattas in Miami, Palma and Marseilles before slipping to 18th overall at the Laser European championships at Porto in late May.

“Finn is ready, his boat-speed upwind and downwind is excellent,” said Zbogar. “But the feel of stress for the worlds is way more than normal. He has to understand and learn from it and then use it as a weapon.”

The other Irish competitors in Japan are Liam Glynn from Bangor, Co Down, bronze medallist at the U21 World Championships in Laser in 2018, and Ewan McMahon from Howth, Co. Dublin, silver medallist at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships in 2016, with the Laser coach pleased with the progress of the two younger sailors preparing for their first senior worlds.

“Liam has been sailing really well over the last ten days; I am super happy with him and it will be very interesting to see his results. Ewan is quite solid.  He’s still quite young and needs experience but he’s a big talent.  The good thing here is that there’s no pressure so he can sail freely.”

The series begins with two races daily in a qualification round to determine Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets before final rounds next Monday and Tuesday.

Ireland needs to be in the top five of unqualified nations to secure a berth for Tokyo 2020.  Once qualified, a trials series will follow to select the best sailor.

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