Tokyo 2020: Disqualification will weigh heavily on Dickson and Waddilove

Rules infraction sees Irish sailors drop to 13th in the overall standings

  Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove in action in the 49er class on Thursday. Photograph: David  Branigan/Inpho

Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove in action in the 49er class on Thursday. Photograph: David Branigan/Inpho

 

The shockwaves from the disqualification of Ireland’s Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove from two key races at the Olympic Sailing regatta look certain to continue long after Tokyo 2020 ends.

The pair were penalised after one of their trapeze harnesses, used to hang out by wires from the side of the boat, was found to have exceeded the permitted weight limit by just 90 grams.

The Brazillian entry was similarly found against while German and Spanish 470 crews had similar fates earlier in the week.

In a statement responding to Irish Times questions last night, World Sailing said: “Under the Racing Rules of Sailing, the only penalty available to the International Jury for a breach of the rule involved (RRS 50.1(b)) is disqualification in the races concerned and that penalty has been applied. The rule is not one over which the Jury has discretion and the majority of rules in sailing have mandatory disqualification as a penalty.”

The statement added that all the boat equipment and sails are inspected prior to competition starting but that crew personal gear are checked during racing as these can be replaced.

Equipment rules are in place to prevent cheating by the addition of weight bags to crew clothing to help boost the performance of the boat. However, to be effective, at least several kilos would be needed which was not the case in either the 49er or 470 incidents this week.

Nevertheless, questions will still be asked about the rigidity of the rules and lack of discretion available to international juries or whether a margin of error should be included.

There is also speculation as to why the trapeze harnesses failed the test in the first place, especially as they had been weighed three times by Dickson and Waddilove prior to the Olympics.

One theory is that the waterproof fabric lining of the harness may have become worn and allowed water to soak in, thus adding the small amount of weight that tipped the scales.

However, for Dickson and Waddilove, their chances of achieving a podium finish at their first Olympics have suffered a major setback - dropping from seventh to 13th overall - and their task for Friday and Saturdays’ final days will be to regain a foothold in Monday’s medal race final for the top 10 boats.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.