Annalise Murphy in bronze spot heading into Monday’s medal race

Laser Radial sailor scores a sixth and seventh in races nine and 10 on Saturday

Annalise Murphy in action during Saturday’s Laser Radial races  on  Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph:  Olivier Hoslet/EPA

Annalise Murphy in action during Saturday’s Laser Radial races on Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro. Photograph: Olivier Hoslet/EPA

 

The stage is set for Monday’s medal race final in the Women’s Single-handed event where Annalise Murphy goes into action in third overall and assured of at least fifth place.

Her ninth race of the qualification series yesterday saw her in second overall but a seventh in the final race saw her skip two points behind Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom and ten points behind Marit Boumeester, the Dutch Silver medallist from London 2012 in first overall.

Behind Murphy, Belgian Evi Van Acker, the Bronze medallist from four years ago and Finland’s Tuula Tenkanen are the Irish sailor’s only threats to taking a podium place at the Marina da Gloria venue around 6pm Irish time.

Incredibly, the London Gold medallist crashed out of the standings for the medal race final on Friday night after earlier leading the regatta. China’s Lijia Xu was disqualified from both races seven and eight for ‘right of way’ incidents involving other competitors.

The pre-event favourite had already discarded a disqualification earlier in the series meaning she had to count two maximum scores for Friday’s races. She ends the series in 18th overall.

Yet for Murphy, in spite of holding a podium position all week, a record reminiscent of London 2012, nothing is assured.

Medal races count for double-points. On this basis, Murphy is effectively tied for the Silver medal position with Rindom if she beats the Dane by one place as the tie-break is decided on who had the better result.

For Murphy to win the Gold, she would also need to beat Boumeester by five places.

The scenario is in reality quite different to London 2012 when the top four boats would decide the order of medals by their finishing-order in the medal race.

On that basis, nothing is assured until the race ends and Rio’s fickle winds of the Pao de Azucar medal race course will play a decisive role in the outcome.

Meanwhile, Murphy’s counterpart in the Men’s single-handed event ended his debut Olympics in 32nd place yesterday. Racing again on the ocean course of Copacabana, Carlow’s Finn Lynch clearly pushed hard to the very end as he was Black-flagged in the final race for early starting.

His form early in the qualification series for the 46-strong class showed considerable promise with results inside the top 20 and race positions inside the top ten. A dream-ending of Gold for Brazilian sailing legend Robert Scheidt is over but a podium place remains a possibility in Monday’s final for the class.

Meanwhile, Ireland’s Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern proved their ability against four-times world champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke yesterday when the Belfast Lough pair won the second race of the day.

The Kiwis top the 20-boat Men’s skiff event nevertheless but the Irish boat is in fourth overall, less than two points shy of the top three.

In the Women’s skiff event, Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey had a challenging day in the shifty conditions in the middle of Guanabara Bay after their promising start to the series on Friday.

The pair are 12th overall on tie-break and just six points off the top-ten at the mid-point in the series.

Sunday is a rest/reserve day for the Irish events.

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