Belfast Telegraph

Annalise Murphy joins Espey in qualifying for Rio 2016

By Steve Beacom

Ireland's Annalise Murphy has followed the example of Ulsterman James Espey to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

Competing at the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain, Murphy finished in 20th overall and 16th nation yesterday from 120 boats in the Laser Radial category.

With the top 19 countries from the 58 competing in the class making it to Rio, the 23-year-old can now focus on winning a medal in 2016, having finished fourth at the London 2012 Games.

The way the qualifying process works means that Murphy has ensured that Ireland will have a boat in the Laser Radial class in Rio, and it is virtually certain that it will be her sailing it, much like Bangor man Espey in the Laser Standard. Having reached his Olympic goal earlier in the week, Espey finished 38th overall in Santander.

Northern Ireland duo Matt McGovern and Ryan Seaton, racing in the 49er class, are hoping to join him in Brazil. They need to finish in the top 10 countries out of 31 and having finished second and 15th yesterday, have put themselves in position to do that.

McGovern and Seaton rushed to the assistance of Irish team-mates Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey, whose mast broke before their first race in the 49erFX pair class, forcing them back to shore.

Within moments they had replaced their mast, but within that time the race had been riddled with capsizes and ultimately abandoned meaning no penalty for the girls. They lie 35th overall.

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