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Two-time Irish Olympic sailor Matt McGovern retires

The Belfast native competed at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016.

Image: Darren Kidd

TWO-TIME IRISH Olympic sailor Matt McGovern has announced his retirement after almost 25 years of competing at international level, according to the Irish Sailing website.

The Belfast native represented Ireland at the Olympics in 2012 and 2016 after failing to qualify for the Games in 2008, and was part of Ireland’s most successful skiff duo alongside Ryan Seaton from Carrickfergus.

The pair earned Olympic race wins at the London 2012 games, finishing 14th overall in the 49er class before bowing out.

They returned four years later to qualify for the medal race in Rio, where they came home in 10th place.

McGovern and Seaton also claimed a silver medal together at the ISAF French World Cup in 2014 after an impressive final day’s racing at the prestigious event.

The duo decided to end their partnership in 2016 and announced plans for separate campaigns for Tokyo 2020.

McGovern linked up with youth sailor Robbie Gilmore in an effort to compete at the Olympics again, but has since decided to call time on his career.

Irish Sailing’s Performance Director James O’Callaghan has paid tribute to the 33 year-old’s successful career, which also included European regatta wins.

Speaking to the Irish Sailing website, he said: “From day one, Matt was a bundle of energy and enthusiasm. Eighteen years on, no change. His approach, results and outlook are an excellent guide to the next generation”.

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