Sailor Saskia Tidey swaps Ireland for Team GB ahead of 2020

Tidey finished 12th in Rio, and was looking to push on for 2020

Saskia Tidey, Ireland, TEAM GB

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Irish sailor Saskia Tidey has decided to represent Team GB for the Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo. 

Tidey represented Ireland at the Olympics in Rio, and competed in the 49er FX class, but made the switch to Team GB in the hopes of securing a medal at the next Games. 

Speaking to The Irish Times, Tidey said that the retirement of Andrea Brewster, who was her partner when the pair finished 12th in Rio last summer, was a big factor in her decision. 

"There wasn’t an option here in Ireland in the 49er FX with another girl who had the experience to sail at the same level that I had finished up at to be competitive and win a medal in 2020.

"The 49er FX is a very specific boat and it takes a vast amount of time and commitment, full-time commitment, to even get to the level we got to."

“It’s not been easy personally for me,” Tidey added. “I’m so proud to be Irish, I will always be Irish, and I absolutely couldn’t have been prouder to represent Ireland at Rio 2016."

Tidey also thanked the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) and Irish Sports Council, who she stated had invested time and money in female sailing in Ireland, but that the concentration had been on the Laser Radial and 420 classes, leaving her with a difficult choice to make as she looks ahead to the next Games. 

Image:  ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

ISA performance director James O’Callaghan told The Irish Times: “It’s regrettable that Saskia has decided to pursue her sailing career with another country but, that said, the ISA wish her the best of luck with her future endeavours."

"She’s a good example of what can be achieved from a managed programme as she came up through the academy and, along with Andrea Brewster, put in a fantastic performance at the Rio Olympics. We were hoping to build on that, but it’s not to be."