Tokyo 2020: Race win not enough to steer Dickson and Waddilove into final

Sailing pair make superb comeback after two disqualifications

Ireland’s Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove celebrate winning their final race at Enoshima, Japan on Saturday, though they didn’t qualify for the medals finals at the Tokyo 2020  Olympics. Photograph: Dave Branigan/Oceansport/Inpho

Ireland’s Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove celebrate winning their final race at Enoshima, Japan on Saturday, though they didn’t qualify for the medals finals at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Photograph: Dave Branigan/Oceansport/Inpho

 

A weekend of highs and lows marked the conclusion of the Tokyo Olympics for the sailors at Enoshima, where racing is still under way for other classes.

After Annalise Murphy bowed out of future competitions after missing out on the medal race final, Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove went out on Saturday and scored a third before ending the qualification series with a race win.

However, the final day also counted a 17th place, a marked contrast to their five top 10 results in the series, but sits along with another 18th place that denied them a place in the medal race final for the top 10 finishers.

More accurately, perhaps it wasn’t those two weighty results but the pair of disqualifications they received for Thursday’s racing when one of their trapeze harnesses was overweight by 90 grams, in breach of the strict equipment rules.

“We’ve learnt what we can from that and now we’ve put it behind us,” Waddilove said after the series ended. “And you can be sure that we’ll never make a technical mistake like that again.”

The disqualification issue might even have been worse had they not been sailing on their reserve day when three races are normally held; they would have been flicked from three and not the two races that were catching the series up on missed races from the opening day due to light winds.

Still, the pair went out on Friday and scored more top 10s and seemed otherwise easily capable of reaching the final.

Tokyo 2020

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Memorable

Instead, they rounded off their first Olympics with another memorable race victory.

“It shows a bit of character that we were able to come back and still sail well for the rest of the regatta,” Dickson said. “We ended up missing the medal race by only eight points despite having two disqualifications.”

The weekend continued with the Women’s Singlehanded medal race that saw Murphy’s friend and long-standing training partner Anne-Marie Rindom of Denmark take gold after narrowly missing the chance to win outright on Friday without needing the final.

Rindom sailed ashore to a hero’s welcome and was greeted on the slip by Murphy who, characteristically, was overjoyed by her friend’s success.

Both then shared the news that Howth’s Eve McMahon had just won the ILCA6 (Laser Radial) Junior World Championships at Lake Garda. The pair had included her in their training camps for Tokyo and were her mentors as a prospect for Paris 2024.

As for Murphy’s own performance at the Games, she came to take the gold herself but fell well short.

“I don’t really know what came over me,” she said. “I put so much effort into preparing for these Olympics and in my mind I thought, ‘This is all going to work out for me, this is going to be my time.’’

Big waves

Enoshima has a reputation for delivering tough conditions with fresh to strong winds and big waves, even with a 50 per cent chance of a typhoon or associated weather nearby.

“I did think we were going to get a lot of conditions – on-shore [wind] and wavy – and I worked really hard on my fitness; I knew that if we had hiking conditions I’d have a real chance of doing something special.”

However, with no more than two days of moderate to fresh winds, the Japanese venue that also hosted the 1964 Olympic regatta turned out to be a light airs event.

“When it looked like that wasn’t going to happen, I just got so stressed out about it and sort of lost the run of myself,” she admitted. “It’s frustrating because if I’d just gone in with the attitude I had in Rio where I was just fighting for each race... I had this joke that I’d try not to come last... it would have been a better attitude to have.”

As with her first appearance at London 2012, Murphy opened both Olympics with a race win and led or stayed in the top three boats for the duration.

“I came here to win and it didn’t work out for me. The nerves got the better of me.”

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