The Irish Sailing Laser Men’s Team start competing this Monday (19 April) for a place at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The Vilamoura International Regatta in Portugal is the last chance for the Lasers to secure a place for Ireland.
The Irish Sailing Team members include Rio Olympian Finn Lynch (National Yacht Club), Liam Glynn (Ballyholme Yacht Club) and Ewan McMahon (Howth Yacht Club). Also competing in the regatta are Tom Higgins and Hugo Kennedy (both Royal St. George Yacht Club).
There is a fleet of 120 boats competing in the event, with two nation places left for the Laser Class. 17 countries will be competing for the Olympic berths (Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, Montenegro, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, Switzerland and Ukraine).
The team is supported by Slovenian coach Vasilij Zbogar, a three-time Olympic medallist.
A young team
The Irish Sailing Laser Team is comparatively young, average age 22, where the average age of a Laser medallist is 27.2. To compound the difficulty, nation spots for the Laser Men discipline have been reduced: 11 fewer than at the Rio Games in 2016, making qualification a tough task.
Meet the sailors
Finn Lynch was Ireland’s youngest Olympic sailor when he competed at the Rio Games in 2016 at the age of 20. Originally from land-locked Carlow, Finn got hooked on sailing as a child with his father at Blessington Lake in Wicklow. Teammate Liam Glynn is from County Down, and balances competing with his Ad Astra Sports Scholarship at UCD where he studies maths and physics. Liam was the Bronze medallist at U21 World Championships in 2018 and the Topper World Champion in 2013. The third member of the team is Ewan McMahon from Howth. Ewan is the youngest member of the team at 20 years old and was the Silver medallist at the Laser Radial Youth World Championships in 2016. Ewan is also a UCD Ad Astra Sports Scholar, studying engineering. Ewan comes from a family of competitive sailors – his sister Eve is on the Irish Sailing Laser Radial Team, and brother Jamie won the Irish Sailing Youth Nationals in 2019.
Competition begins on Monday 19 April and concludes on Saturday 24 April 2021. More details on the event website here: http://vilamourasailing.sailti.com/en/default/races/race/text/2021-ilca-vilamoura-european-continental-qualification-en