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Irish sailor Peter O'Leary Photo by: Irish Independent

Peter O’Leary ignores Olympic betting storm to stake his claim for gold

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Irish sailor Peter O'Leary Photo by: Irish Independent

Olympic sailor Peter O’Leary put his troubles behind him to set up a gold medal challenge at the London Games.

As his supporters fight claims that O’Leary broke Olympic gambling rules at the 2008 games in Beijing, O’Leary showed his class at the sailing competition in Weymouth.

After the first series of races, Cork’s O’Leary and his Dublin partner David Burrows lie second in their class.

O’Leary took to the seas just hours after he was named as the athlete under investigation for betting on an opponent when he competed in Beijing.

His supporters have claimed the timing of the claims, 24 hours before O’Leary took to his boat, was ‘vindictive’.

They are also adamant that the rules were different when O’Leary, who had no chance of winning in China, backed a training mate and pocketed a $5,000 profit.

Ironically the 28-year-old O’Leary and team-mate Burrows are the 4/1 second favourites with the bookies for the gold medal.

He refused to speak to reporters after racing on Sunday but Irish sailing team performance director James O’Callaghan said: “The issue is sub judice so we have no comment to make.”

Both the International Olympic Committee and Ireland’s Olympic council have launched investigations into the claims.

The Irish Times reports on an email from the IOC to the OCI which suggests O’Leary may have broken their rules.

The email read: “An amendment to the IOC code of ethics was added in 2006 that forbids all participants in the Olympic Games from betting on an Olympic event.

“During its meeting in Durban [South Africa] on 4 July 2011, the IOC executive board approved rules concerning the prohibition on betting linked to the Olympic Games and any form of cheating affecting the course and or the results of Olympic competitions in the context of betting.

“These rules apply to all participants in the London 2012 Olympic Games.”

A statement from the Olympic Council of Ireland said: “We are treating this matter as sub judice”.

It is alleged that O’Leary placed two bets on British sailor Iain Percy to win the gold medal in the Star class at the Beijing Games.

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