Slow but steady progress for Irish sailors at Olympic qualification event in Japan

Both Irish women competing at the Laser Radial World Championships in Sakaiminato, Japan achieved top 20 results earlier today (Saturday 20th July 2019) as the pair aim to secure a place for Ireland at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Aisling Keller (Nenagh, Co. Tipperary) had a 14th place while Aoife Hopkins (Howth, Co. Dublin) was 17th in the single race day for their 55-boat Blue flight.

The moderate breeze that the two qualification flights started in proved quite unstable and soon eased to near calm conditions.  Plans for a second race were dropped.

A second day of slack winds on Miho Bay has put the qualification round behind schedule and while three races may be attempted on Sunday, the finals series must begin on Monday regardless.

Two races on Sunday would see the series discard come into force and allow Hopkins to drop her 34th place from the opening day to maximise her potential to achieve Gold fleet for the finals.

“We have good momentum now so I’m pretty happy that Aisling and Aoife have settled in,” said Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing’s Head Coach.  “No process changes are needed and there are still loads of races to go so the plan is to just stick at it.”

Ten nation places for the women’s single-handed dinghy in Tokyo will be decided at this world championship in addition to the 20 already allocated from 2018 events.  Either or both Irish sailors must first qualify for Gold fleet on Sunday and score well by Wednesday’s final race to achieve Irish qualification.

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