Yesterday, sailing, rowing and swimming performance directors (PD’s) together with Canoeist Eoin Rheinisch gave their appraisal of World Championships this year and the pathway/performance expectations to the Olympic Games next summer in London.
Martin McElroy (PD) said that “Rowing’s position is that we are rebuilding up from underage athletes and would be satisfied to qualify one boat for the Games, a women’s lightweight double sculls”.
James O’Callaghan (PD) Sailing focused on three categories of boat. Peter O’Leary (Star Class) the best prospect, after winning a World Cup event at the Olympic venue in Weymouth. However he said “In the Star class 16 boats qualify for the Olympics and one place is already taken by the host country. Over 40 countries would want a place on the starting line.”
Other focus boats are the 49er and the Laser Radial. The Perth World Championships later this year will determine 75 per cent of Olympic qualification, making 2011 almost as intense as next year.
Swimming (PD) Peter Banks said “We have agreed only A qualification times for World Championship and the Olympics” said Banks. Three have qualified so far for the Worlds this year.
Swim Ireland plan to have six athletes in London compared to the three who travelled to Beijing in 2008. “We’ll be very close to semi-final swims and maybe some final swims,” he added.
In Canoe Slalom, Eoin Rheinisch continues his comeback from a shoulder injury and has two chances to qualify for London, the World Championships in September 2011 and the European Championships next year. There are 21 places available. He was fourth in Beijing.
Performance Director London projections:
Swimming: ‘A’ standard only accepted; Qualifying March 1st 2011-March 31st 2012; 900 swimmers in London 2012; 13 individual events, three relays. Hopes – six swimmers to qualify for London.
Rowing: Olympic Events: 14 (men – 9; women – 6); Qualification places – men 353, women 197; Quota per country – men 28, women 20. Hopes – one boat to qualify in women lightweight double sculls.
Sailing: Olympic Events: 10 boats. Ireland campaigning in six but actively support three boats. 49er (20 qualify), Star (16 qualify) and Laser Radial (39 qualify). Hopes – podium finish for one of the boats.
Canoe Slalom : Olympic Event: canoe slalom, canoe sprint; Slalom 21 places available; Qualification World Championships 2011, European Championships 2012. Hopes – podium finish.