The ILCA 6 (Laser Radial) sailor and former U21 European Champion had been readying for the Paris 2024 qualifying campaign, following the disappointment of missing out on Ireland’s sole spot at the Tokyo 2020 games last year.
Only this past summer it was announced that 23-year-old Hopkins would share with fellow HYC prospect Eve McMahon in The Olympic Federation of Ireland Paris Scholarships fund for their Olympic preparations.
Sailing since she was nine years old and well regarded as one of Ireland’s top sailors, Hopkins achieved her personal best result when she placed 17th overall at the 2021 ILCA 6 World Championships in Oman, where she also scored one of two World Championship race wins in her career.
Before that, arguably her biggest highlight was her win at the U21 Europeans in 2017 — just weeks after sitting her Leaving Cert — and that same year she graduated to the senior Irish Sailing Team.
Hopkins balanced sailing with her studies for a maths degree over the subsequent years, and together with Aisling Keller helped secure Ireland’s single qualification place for the ILCA 6 at Tokyo 2020 during the class Worlds in Japan in 2019.
However, Hopkins’ hopes of securing that spot were dashed when the following summer’s Olympic trials were cut short in the early months of the COVID pandemic, and Rio 2016 silver medallist Annalise Murphy was selected instead.
Aoife Hopkins had been gearing up for the Paris 2024 qualification campaign after the disappointment of Ireland’s Tokyo 2020 selection
At the time, both Keller and Hopkins expressed their dismay, with the latter saying: “I really can’t understand the decision not to continue with the trials. I am utterly and completely devastated.”
Hopkins did not appeal the decision by Irish Sailing and took some time out to reassess her situation.
The young sailor missed the Irish ILCA 6 title nationals on a tie break in Kerry in August but did lift the ladies’ salver. Her most recent victory on the water was as helm of the J80 Ladies of the Kite, leading a team of under-25s to the Sportsboat title at last month’s Women at the Helm regatta.
Before the event, Hopkins said: “Events like these are super important for women in sport and women in sailing … and it’s brilliant to see the turn out today. This is the one event of the year when the women’s changing rooms are busier than the men’s!
“It gives women the opportunity to helm boats that they might not have and to actually showcase their skills and what they can do because it’s not really about capabilities, it’s about opportunities.”
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