Murphy misses out on medal
Olympics:Annalise Murphy suffered the disappointment of a fifth place in the Laser Radial Sailing medal race to finish fourth overall and therefore miss out on a medal. Her three rivals China’s Lijia Xu, Marit Bouwmeester (Holland) and Evi van Acker (Belgium) took the first three places and the gold, silver and bronze medals in that order.
The 22 year old Irish girl led around the first mark but lacked speed downwind that would ultimately cost her dearly. It was a wonderfully brave effort and this particular race notwithstanding a brilliant Olympics for Murphy. The shortened course was always going to place a high premium on maximising choices made in terms of the elements and her rivals proved much quicker in the downwind legs.
Chinese sailor Xu, the lightest competitor in the race, managed to recover from receiving a yellow flag for a technical foul – she is obliged to do a 720 turn immediately – to dominate the race. Once she had completed the sanction she quickly grabbed the lead from Murphy.
The Irish sailor dropped down to ninth during the second leg as China’s Xu moved into the lead, despite being forced to do a penalty turn. Xu was still ahead around the third and fourth marks, although Bouwmeester pulled herself up from eighth to third in the penultimate downwind leg.
The Dutch woman could not jump above Xu or Great Britain’s Ali Young, though, and rounded the fifth mark in the same position. Belgium’s Van Acker moved ahead of Murphy in that final upwind and remained ahead of the Irish sailor for the remainder of the race to take bronze.
Further up the fleet, Bouwmeester was unable to find a way past Xu in latter stages so took silver, leaving China to celebrate yet another gold medal at London 2012.
A tearful Murphy admitted: “I lost out a bit on the first downwind. I went left and it didn’t work. There was less wind and all the girls got by me so I think I was close to last after the first lap and I really fought to get back into the race but it was just hard and three girls that beat me; they’re all so good.
“It came down to the top five in the regatta fighting out for the top five in that race so anything was going to happen, down to the last lap and things just didn’t work my way. I think I kept on losing out. I kept on going to the left-hand side where there was less wind so that kind of caused me to lose out. Looking back it seems simpler now; if I’d just done something differently but at the time…
“I had a brilliant week. My first two days of this event, nobody could beat me so I don’t think it gets much better than that. I’m only 22. All the girls are much older than me in the fleet. I’m going to work so hard for 2016 and hopefully I’ll be able to come good then.
(The support) It’s brilliant. They all seem to have been kind of shielding me from what’s going on at home. I guess it’ll be brilliant to just see all my family and friends. Loads of my friends have flown over so it’ll be great to see them all. (On whether she look forward positively) I can but I think it’s going to be hard for a while.