By Ed Leahy
Ireland’s luckless Laser Radial sailor Annalise Murphy is ready to put her London disappointment behind her to focus on winning gold at the next Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
Murphy was cruelly edged out of the medals in this aftenoon’s Medal race at the Weymouth Olympic sailing venue and had to settle for fourth place in her maiden Games.
China's Lijia Xu took gold, Marit Bouvmeester of the Netherlands silver and Evi van Acker of Belgium the bronze.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport after the medal race, Murphy, who was holding back the tears, said: “It’s really hard finishing fourth, especially because at one stage I was winning the race, at one stage I was coming second and at then I was coming third so just at the end to lose it is really hard. I’m just going to try to not cry too much.”
The Dubliner was leading at the first mark and made a tactical decision that ultimately backfired, which allowed all her main contenders to get past in the downwind section that followed.
“I’m only 22 and all the girls in the fleet are much older than me so I’m going to work so hard for 2016 and hopefully I’ll be able to come good then” - Annalise Murphy
Murphy explained: “The first downwind, I went left and it didn’t work. There was less wind and all the girls got by me so I was close to last by the end of the first lap and I fought so hard to get back into the race.”
And Murphy’s fightback was spectacular as she negotiated the headwind to once again catch, and pass, most of her rivals to put herself right back into contention, turning at the penultimate mark in silver medal position.
But another tactical decision ultimately cost the 22-year-old as Murphy, once again, chose to take the less travelled left side of the course for the vital downwind section and she was helpless as both Bouvmeester and van Acker passed going past the final mark into the home straight.
Murphy added: “I kept going left were there was less wind and that kind of caused me to lose out. And now it seems more simple, if I had done something differently, but at the time...
“The three girls that beat me are all so good. The top five in the regatta were fighting it out for the top five in that race so anything was going to happen down to the last lap and things just didn’t work my way.”
So now it’s onwards and upwards for Murphy and she already has her sights set on the 2016 Games in Brazil, knowing that time is on her side compared to the fleet competing at London.
An upbeat Murphy said: “I had a brilliant week and in the first two days of the event nobody could beat me, so I don’t think it gets much better than that.