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Three Irish sailors set to compete at Laser World Championship in Mexico

by ISA Communications 12 May 2016 17:10 BST 12-18 May 2016
Irish sailors set for the Laser Worlds © David Brannigan /

The final selection event to decide the Irish laser sailor for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games begins in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico today, where three Irish contenders will be in action.

The Men's single-handed event in the Laser Standard class is being closely contested with the outcome hanging by a thread as London 2012 veteran and Providence Team IRL member James Espey from Ballyholme comes under pressure from ISA Development sailor Finn Lynch of the National YC.

Baltimore's Fionn Lyden has demonstrated serious future potential in the trials that started over five months ago at the Olympic venue in a test event but will need a significant jump in form to win the nomination.

Racing begins in the world championships today at 1pm (6pm Irish Time) and continues for the coming seven days concluding on Wednesday18th. The first four days of racing will be qualification rounds that decide the fleet splits into Gold and Silver groupings. Unlike the Olympic Regatta format, there is no medal race final for the top ten boats.

On the trials standings after two previous events, Espey holds a narrow six-point lead over Lynch. Lyden trails by 20 points. In the large fleets competing in the worlds, finishing places between the Irish boats are likely to be spread out so the overall lead for the trials could easily change in the course of one or two races.

Although Espey has the upper hand in terms of experience and the overall lead, Lynch is a rising star of Irish sailing. As a Youth World Championship silver medallist and U19 Laser World champion, he is a clear threat to the incumbent having recently beat Espey to win the Ulster Laser Championships.

"While all three boats will be aiming for a Gold fleet result in this event, they will inevitably be aware of one another's placing as the trials standings are so close," commented James O'Callaghan, ISA Performance Director. "It has been a nail biting trials so far and that trend is likely to continue in Mexico"

Last month saw Annalise Murphy from the National YC win the trials for the sole Irish slot at Rio 2016 for the Women's Laser Radial event. In the 49er skiff event, Ryan Seaton with Matt McGovern and 49erFX sailors Andrea Brewster with Saskia Tidey also await a decision by the board of the ISA to be nominated to the Olympic Council of Ireland for inclusion in the national team for Brazil.

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