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Dublin: 6°C Tuesday 18 May 2021
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Irish duo close in on Olympic place in Lanzarote, Lanigan-O'Keeffe falls short at World Cup

A day of mixed outcomes for Irish Tokyo 2021 hopefuls.

It was a good day for the Irish sailing team in Lanzarote.
It was a good day for the Irish sailing team in Lanzarote.
Image: David Branigan/Oceansport

IRELAND MOVED a step closer to securing a place at the Tokyo Olympics today  as the 49er Spring Championship in Lanzarote reaches its closing stages.

Olympic hopefuls Robert Dickson (Howth Yacht Club) and Sean Waddilove (Skerries Sailing Club) again held on to their third overall place in the Gold fleet though sailed three more conservative races.

The Dublin crew were aiming to avoid a repeat of their previous two race disqualifications for early starting with 13-11-8 scored for the day, their first time in this regatta that they had placed outside the top ten.

Crucially, their results assure them of a place in Friday afternoon’s medal race final that follows the final fleet race in the morning.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s other crew are also hoping to reach the medal race final as Ryan Seaton (Ballyholme YC) with crew Séafra Guilfoyle (Royal Cork YC) had a 18-16-4 for the day.  The pair dropped to eleventh overall and Friday’s single fleet race will be an all or nothing attempt to place at the front of the fleet.

Belgium and Italy remain strong contenders for the single remaining place at Tokyo 2021 with all needing concerted efforts to overtake Dickson and Waddilove who have led these stakes since the start of the week.

“Rob and Sean made the correct call to take a conservative approach to the day’s racing, striking a good balance between scoring well and not risking their points advantage,” commented James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing’s Performance Director.  “The goal at this event remains Olympic qualification and that will inform strategy; whether or not they achieve a podium result this week is irrelevant.”

The single fleet race for the 49er class will be sailed in the morning before the boats return to Playa Blanca.  The top ten crews will then return to sea in the afternoon for the short medal race that counts for double points.

arthur-lanigan-okeeffe Arthur Lanigan O'Keeffe in action at Rio 2016. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Elsewhere in Olympic sports today, Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe found the going tough in his first competition for 13 months and fell short of qualifying for the men’s final at UIPM 2021 Pentathlon World Cup Budapest.

The Kilkenny pentathlete, 29, finished 16th in his qualification group with 1,029 points to rank 50th of 92 athletes overall, and was eliminated with only 36 athletes reaching the final.

Having won his swimming heat with a rapid time of 1:57.41, Lanigan-O’Keeffe was up against it after scoring a modest 12 victories from his 29 fencing bouts. Even the fifth-fastest Laser Run of his qualification group (11:13.85) was not enough to get the two-time Olympian into the final.

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Irish duo Natalya Coyle and Sive Brassil will compete in the women’s final tomorrow with the Mixed Relay potentially giving Lanigan-O’Keeffe one more chance to race on Sunday.

- copy courtesy of Sailing Ireland and Pentathlon Ireland

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