Belfast Telegraph

McGovern and Gilmore have Tokyo Olympics on the horizon

By Robert Jones

Matt McGovern has kick-started the new year with a new sailing partner and a new campaign which he hopes will lead to Tokyo 2020. 

McGovern, from Ballyholme Yacht Club and supported by RYANI, has teamed up with former top Northern Ireland youth sailor Robbie Gilmore of Strangford Lough Yacht Club. 

With a new challenge on the horizon, 49er sailor McGovern is excited about the year ahead.

He said: "The new partnership has added a new freshness to the sport I love. 

"Our 2017 goal is to get a good grip on the boat and put in a strong performance at the World Championships at the end of August to give us a platform to qualify the nation at the subsequent Worlds in 2018. 

"We have been doing a lot of hours on the water focusing mainly on boat handling skills as this is a massive part of 49er racing," added McGovern.  

"As well as this we have been working on getting plenty of gym time to give us a good fitness platform from which to train and race.

"We are both pretty similar people in our approach, so we have gotten on top of that really quickly." 

McGovern has also changed the training schedule to suit the new partnership.

He said: "We are working much more on boat handling and building the hours up in the area at home to get it perfect. Robbie has also brought some 'out of the box thinking' to our training plans that I think are going to help us progress at a great rate, but they are secret!" 

The pair will be competing at a number of warm-up regattas such as Andalusian Week in Cadiz this month, the UK Ranker event in Weymouth in May, Kiel Week in Germany in June, the Europeans in Kiel in July and the Worlds in Porto, Portugal in August. 

RYANI's Chief Operating Officer Richard Honeyford said: "Matt and Robbie have the makings of a strong team. Alongside Ryan Seaton and Séafra Guilfoyle, the Irish 49er fleet is showing great potential with all teams vying for Olympic qualification."

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