RYAN SEATON AND Matt McGovern became the latest Irish athletes to qualify for next summer’s Olympic games as they continued their strong showing at the ISAF World Sailing Championships this morning.
The pair finished fifth in both of their 49er class races in Perth, taking them up to 10th position overall and leaving them with every chance of making the cut for Sunday’s gold medal race.
After three days of racing, Seaton and McGovern comfortably remained in the competition’s gold fleet which was whittled down from 67 boats to the top 25 this morning.
Only the top 10 teams will make the start line for Sunday’s final, but with just 14 different nations represented across the gold fleet contenders, the Irish pair are guaranteed to at least get an Olympic spot for their troubles.
They join Annalise Murphy who wrapped up her own qualification by finishing sixth in the laser radial class last weekend.
“It’s a brilliant result for the guys, to be in 6th nation position and to have secure Olympic qualification at this stage is something special,” ISA Performance Director James O’Callaghan said this morning.
Seaton and McGovern will be Ireland’s first Olympic representatives in the 49er class since Tom Fitzpatrick and Fraser Browne finished 16th at the Athens games in 2004.
In the Star discipline, Peter O’Leary and David Burrows face a tough final day of competition before discovering if they too will be going to London next summer.
The pair finished 16th and 24th in their two races today, slipping to 15th place overall ahead of Friday’s penultimate day of racing.
O’Leary and Burrows are currently the 11th-ranked nation. With only the top 11 nations guaranteed an Olympic spot, there is no room for error, O’Callaghan admitted.
“The Star pair are in control of their own destiny but this is one that will go right down to the wire.”