Belfast Telegraph

Sailing: Ulster duo deliver and set a course to Olympics

By Steven Beacom

Team Ireland has now secured three spots at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games after sailors Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern rounded off an incredibly successful 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships at the weekend.

The duo have followed in the footsteps of James Espey and Annalise Murphy who earned their places at the Olympics earlier in the competition.

Espey booked Ireland's first place at the Olympics with ease in the opening week of the competition, finishing 37th in a fleet of 147 boats in the Laser Standard Class.

Murphy continued the sailors success at the Olympic qualification event in Santander, Spain, just a couple of days later after she came back from a poor start in the Laser Radial Class to win Ireland its second spot.

Seaton and McGovern delivered personal bests in Santander to finish eighth in the 49er Class and make it a hat-trick for the Team Ireland sailors.

"We came here to get three tickets to Rio and we leave with three tickets and two personal bests. It has been another excellent week for Irish sailing and completes a great 2014," said ISA Performance Director, James O'Callaghan.

Narrowly missing out on qualification, ISA Development sailors Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey are unfortunate not to be on their way to Rio in the 49erFX Skiff.

The girls, who only paired up last year, managed to thrash their personal bests to wrap up the competition an agonising three places short in 13th place.

Another ISA Development sailor, Finn Lynch also competed at his first Laser Standard World Championship. Finishing a credible 101st from 147 in his first year of competing in the senior class bodes well for the 18-year-old's future.

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