Ireland’s Andrea Brewster and Saskia Tidey have qualified for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the 49erFX skiff event, after the confirmation that Africa is not entering freed up an extra European place.

After a strong showing at last year's World Championships, Brewster and Tidey were next in line for a ticket to Brazil, and can now look forward to flying the flag this summer. 

The pair delivered a strong final-day display at the Worlds in Argentina, finishing 14th overall.  A rules protest ashore meant they would have had to compete for the final European place at the Games in next week’s Princess Sofia Regatta in Mallorca.

They've been spared that however, and will be nominated as part of the Irish Sailing Association Performance (ISA) squad to the Olympic Council of Ireland for inclusion in the team competing in Rio.

“This is a hugely significant development for Andrea and Saskia who earned qualification by fighting to deliver a strong finish to last year’s world championships,” said James O’Callaghan, ISA Performance Manager.  

“It’s a very emotional day for them and they can now concentrate fully on building toward their Rio goals.”

Brewster and Tidey will be among 13 Irish sailors competing at the Princess Sofia Regatta, which begins on the Bay of Palma on Monday 28 March and runs for six days.  A record entry of 775 and more than 1,000 athletes will compete in ten Olympic disciplines.

Ireland has now qualified for representation in four sailing events at Rio, including the Men’s 49er skiff, Laser Standard, Laser Radial as well as the 49erFX women’s event.