Ryan battling for another Olympic Games appearance

A Carrickfergus sailor is vying for a place at the Olympic Games with qualification events taking place in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 24th March 2021, 6:00 pm

Ryan Seaton and Northern Ireland colleagues Oisin McClelland and Liam Glynn have been training for over four years and will take to the water in a bid to secure their place at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In sailing, nations can qualify over 10 Olympic disciplines but just one boat is eventually selected to represent each nation in each discipline. The Northern Ireland athletes represent three different classes: the Finn, 49er and ILCA (formerly known as the Laser).

A double Olympic veteran and World Cup silver medallist, Ryan is paired with crew Seafra Guilfoyle from Cork, following his 10th place finish with Matt McGovern at Rio in 2016.

Ryan Seaton and Seafra Guilfoyle are aiming for Olympic qualification. Photo: Sailing Energy.

The pair had a solid start to the regatta which forms the final qualification event for the class. They had an 11-8-8 for the day. Three days of qualification races will decide the split for gold and silver fleets on Wednesday that will go on to decide the medal race final on Friday (March 26).

Ryan and Seafra finished 10th at the Olympic test event in Endoshima and 30th at the 2020 World Championships. 

Ahead of the race, Ryan commented: “It’s all in, to qualify the nation. If we qualify, we will go to the Olympics. Seafra and I have been doing a serious amount of work over the past year, we are motivated and ready to put down a good performance.

“The outcome goal is to qualify for Tokyo 2021 and our process goals are to keep focused on our individual roles, to enjoy the racing and to believe in our ability as a team to perform.

“All the work is done now, and we are ready to enjoy the challenge. This is what it’s all about, the big events, and performing at these events when it really counts.

“I would like to thank everyone at Sport Northern Ireland and RYA NI for the continued support. It’s a big team effort.”

Andrew Baker, RYA NI’s performance manager, says it is an exciting few months ahead for the sailors and supporters.

He comments: “I am very happy that we are in the position to have three sailors vying for Olympic qualification. All the sailors have worked their way through our club racing scene and performance pathways. The hard work is done, it is now time to trust in their training, believe in their ability and get out there to do it. 
“I hope our current young sailors will be motivated by witnessing our athletes compete at the highest level and return to our sport with a new hunger to perform and after such a challenging year to simply enjoy the freedom sailing offers us all.”

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Click here to read: Olympic star training in Carrickfergus waters after slipway upgrade

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