In a continuation of its relationship with Irish high performance sailing, the Irish Olympic Sailing Team has announced a new deal for the Rio de Janeiro Olympic Regatta in 2016 with Irish exploration firm Providence Resources in Dublin, this morning.
The deal is a major boost to the team as they prepare for Rio. It follows a six month deal put in place last year ahead of the London 2012 games and will provide significant additional resources to enable a competitive tilt at medals on the water.
“Providence Resources were so proud of the Irish Sailing Team at the Games in 2012, and we know they can achieve so much more,” said CEO Tony O’Reilly speaking at the launch. “We want to provide the team with the support to reach their goals in 2016.”
The Irish Sailing Team will be named Providence Team IRL for the four year period and joint branding will be rolled out over the coming weeks.
“We have had great support from the ISC and this commercial partnership raises the level at which we can compete,” added ISA Director James O’Callaghan. “We are an Island nation with a proven ability to mix with the best in international racing.”
The Providence deal extends across Olympic and Paralympic sailing and gear and boats will be rebranded as Providence Team IRL over the coming weeks.
Golden girl Annalise Murphy (23) and other members of the team were present when the city centre announcement was made with Providence Resources Chief Executive, Tony O’Reilly.
Annalise, who lost out on a medal in the final moments of her last race in Weymouth, has got her 2016 campaign off to a flying start winning two of three Eurocup events, earning her May’s Afloat sailor of the month award.
Murphy won both the Italian Lake Garda and Dutch rounds of the Eurocup to put her in top form for the Laser European Championships to be staged, for the first time, in her home waters of Dun Laoghaire next month at the National Yacht Club.
Annalise was joined for today’s press event by June’s Sail For Gold medal winner 49er sailor Matt Mcgovern, Laser Solo sailor James Espey and Paralympian John Twomey.
The Irish Sailing Team had their most successful Olympics for thirty years in 2012 with 4th, 10th and 14th finishes but did not win a medal as team officials predicted.
The sponsorship from Providence announced today means the team can spend more time at the Rio venue, a much more expensive proposition than Weymouth.
As of today, the 2016 sailing team members include:
Annalise Murphy, (Laser Radial)
Ryan Seaton & Matt McGovern, (49er)
James Espey (Laser)
John Twomey (Sonar)
Ian Costello (Sonar)
A number of other campaigns are currently in training to reach qualification standard for 2016 including two campaigns in the new all-female class 49er FX, namely Tiffany Brien and Saskia Tidey/ Claudine Murphy and Andrea Brewster.
Meanwhile, Royal Cork Star Sailor Peter O’Leary could still get a chance to sail in the Keelboat again but only if the venerable class is reinstated in the Olympic fleet line-up, a question everyone in Olympic Circles is asking.
Sailing at the Rio Games will be at Marina da Gloria in Guanabara Bay, where ominously forecasters say winds can be ‘noxiously light and flukey’.