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Rio Olympics: NI's Matt McGovern and Ryan Seaton focus on positives as they weigh up 2020 bid

By Ryan Walters

Published 19/08/2016

Setting sail: NI duo Matt McGovern and Ryan Seaton, representing Team Ireland,
in action in the medals race in Rio, in which they came ninth to finish 10th overall
Setting sail: NI duo Matt McGovern and Ryan Seaton, representing Team Ireland, in action in the medals race in Rio, in which they came ninth to finish 10th overall
Great Birtain's Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (left) celebrate after winning gold in the 470 Women Medal Race

Matt McGovern's Olympic experience didn't produce the medal he desired but he insists there was still a lot of satisfaction to be taken away from his time sailing in Rio's Guanabara Bay.

The 31-year-old from Bangor and Carrickfergus partner Ryan Seaton could only finish ninth in yesterday's men's 49er medal race, meaning they finished the Olympic regatta in 10th overall.

Disappointing results in the 10th and 11th fleet races put an end to the pair's medal hopes, having been in contention all week. But on reflection McGovern believes he and Seaton can be proud of their performances, in particular the way their relationship on the water withstood the pressure.

"We are a little disappointed with the overall result but I think this was a brilliant day for sailing," he said. "We don't get a lot of media attention because we are out at sea but every four years the Olympics comes and hopefully we have shown how exciting and fun it can be.

"We had a brilliant start (to the medal race) and thought we were going to do better but it got a bit shifty and we got caught up.

"I was heartbroken on the last day of fleet racing two days ago, because that was when we had been in medal contention, sitting around fourth or fifth but then we let it slip.

"It was sad but when you miss the medals, you miss the medals and you have to accept it. It's been a good cycle and a good year for us.

"I have been doing this sport since I was a kid, it's just infectious, it's exciting and fast.

"It's just been a brilliant Games. I know there are a lot of issues around water cleanliness and safety but we have issues at every Olympics and for us it's been fun."

With Tokyo 2020 the next chance he will get to challenge for an Olympic medal, McGovern couldn't say with certainty he and Seaton would be around.

"You can't work for all these years to come here and have a horrible week so we did the best we could under the circumstances and we just have to be happy with that," he said.

But he insists if the only factor to consider was their desire to win, they would jump at the chance.

"This is an eight-year project for us so we will take some reflections over the next few months and decide if we carry on until Tokyo or not but certainly we have a really close friendship," he said.

"Particularly this week at an Olympic Games where there is a lot of stress and pressure we just pulled together and were as good a team as we've ever been.

"We have the drive and the ambition, we know we can win medals. There is always that thought about another cycle.

"Other factors such as lifestyle and how do we pay for it all, they are the only reasons for maybe not carrying on so time will tell."

Meanwhile, Great Britain's Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark enjoyed a fairytale ending to their 470 partnership by wrapping up Olympic gold in Rio.

Four years on from taking silver in London, the duo arrived in Brazil determined to go one better - and were all but assured of doing so with a race to spare.

An opening series as impressive as it was consistent meant they had to avoid disqualification and complete the double-point medal race.

Aldi is the first Official Supermarket partner of Team GB and has been championing our nation's extraordinary athletes on their Road to Rio and encouraging the public to tuck into fresh, affordable, Great British food. For more information visit aldi.co.uk

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