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  • Northside East

Howth sailor makes a splash to qualify for Tokyo Olympics 

Sunday, 4th August, 2019 4:00pm
Howth sailor makes a splash to qualify for Tokyo Olympics 

Aoife Hopkins will compete at the Tokyo Olympics next summer.

Howth sailor makes a splash to qualify for Tokyo Olympics 

Aoife Hopkins will compete at the Tokyo Olympics next summer.

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A NORTHSIDE woman was celebrating last week after confirming her place in the 2020 Olympics in Japan.

At the Laser Radial World Championship in Sakaiminato, Japan, Aoife Hopkins, from Howth Yacht Club, was a member of the Ireland team that qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Regatta in the women’s single-handed event.

Lough Derg Yacht Club’s Aisling Keller had her best day in the Gold fleet final series to finish 46th overall.

“This is a weight off my shoulders for sure, it’s probably the hardest regatta I’ve ever sailed,” Keller said.  

“To come in off the water and know that it’s done and dusted is just amazing (I’m) so happy.”

Aoife Hopkins placed 48th and both Irish sailors were inside the qualification criteria with Keller taking the seventh of 10 nation places decided at the championship. Hopkins would otherwise have been in the ninth nation place.

“It’s been a really long road to this moment,” said Hopkins.  

“We’ve been working for a year towards this event particularly and even longer towards Olympic qualification. It’s really nice to come away with the outcome we wanted.”

Rory Fitzpatrick, Irish Sailing’s Head Coach, said: “Qualification was something that had to happen so that ended up being the focus here at the end of the regatta. 

“Next we go to the Olympic venue (at) Enoshima… now that we know we’re going to be there (at the Games) we’ve got to make the most of it.”

The sailing venue for next year’s Olympic regatta will host national representatives in all events next month for a scheduled test series for competitors and organisers alike.”

James O’Callaghan, Irish Sailing’s Performance Director, said: “It is fantastic to know we will be on the Olympic start line. 

The next phase is Olympic preparation and the bar gets set even higher for that, there are bigger performances to come from these two athletes.

“The coming 12 months are critical to unlock potential but with support from Sport Ireland and the Irish Sailing Foundation, we are determined to give them the best chance for success.”

Aoife Hopkins, from Howth, in action in Japan Olympic Qualifier. PHOTO: JUNICHI HIRAI/BULKHEAD MAGAZINE, JAPAN

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