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It has been found that Team Ireland’s men’s 49er race team used an illegal harness in their last two races this morning. This could lead to disqualification from those races, effectively ending their Olympics
At 04:05, the men’s pair of Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove got good results, finishing second and sixth in race five and six. At the halfway stage they are ranked at seventh in the competition and looking good to make the medal race.
During the post race checks, it was uncovered that the harnesses used by the pair were 90g, about the weight of six digestive biscuits, overweight. The official regulations state that harnesses must weigh no more than two kilograms.
Ninety grams may not seem like a lot but Olympic sailing is held to very high standard with their specification, in the interest of fairness. Extra weight would give the sailors extra leverage with their turns, giving them an advantage.
This rule break could lead to their Irish teams last two races been disqualified. They will still be able to compete but missing two races will make it virtually impossible to make the medal race.
The Irish team will attempt to appeal the decision but it is looking unlikely that it verdict will side in their favour.
A 6th place for Robert Dickson and Sean in Race 6 brings them up to 7th place overall in the #49erclass. More racing to come tomorrow 💪🇮🇪@Annalise_Murphy has just started Race 7 in the #LaserRadials
pic by @davidbranigan #TeamIreland #Tokyo2020 @Irish_Sailing pic.twitter.com/nmvq3RlOMQ
— Team Ireland (@TeamIreland) July 29, 2021
How could something like this happen?
It is said that this harness is not a new piece of equipment and that the team have used it before.
The weighing process consists of the harness being dunked in water and being left hanging on a weighing scales for a minute as the water drips off.
Team Ireland will conduct into this problem as they await the verdict of their appeal.
This looks to be a big hammer blow for the Irish pair as the Olympic sailing committee is normally very strict and concise surrounding their rules.
A decision will be made by the end of this evening with race seven and eight taking place at 04:05 tomorrow morning.