Sep 14, 2016

2016 IKA Formula Kite World Championships: Day 4


All images: IKA / Alexandru Baranescu - Report and pics sent by IKA / Icarus Sailing Media .
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2016 IKA Formula Kite World Championship - Day 4 
Riders Talk Olympics Aspirations as Wind Stays Away

Weifang Binhai, China— Light breezes tantalised racers at the Formula Kite (foil) World Champions for a second straight day, but remained stubbornly insufficient to get off any races in the women’s or men’s “gold” and “silver” fleets.

In the absence of action, the 60 riders for 19 countries were briefed on the status of kiting’s bid for a slot in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and voiced concerns over some possible strategies apparently unfolding.

Markus Schwendtner, International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) CEO, outlined the possible pathway to an Olympics berth and the potential pitfalls that could lie in the way.

Key among the elite racers’ fears is that the Neil Pryde group — Cabrinha’s parent company — is attempting to establish a “one design” CR:X class with its convertible foil and twin-tip board, and tube kite, in the hope of establishing a “class” and offering if for Olympics inclusion.

Riders were told that in line with their wishes, the IKA’s favoured option is to hold a “beauty contest” of leading high-performance hydrofoils and kites, choosing one of each eligible for mass production two-and-a-half years out from the Olympics as a one design model to be used in the Olympic Games and it’s qualifier event, so all athletes could train and compete on the same equipment while keeping the costs for World Sailing MNAs (National Sailing Associations) low.

Outside the Olympic pathway events, development of foils and kites would continue apace as normal to ensure equipment keeps going forward and does not become quickly dated and outmoded.

If kiting jumped the hurdles, any equipment would ultimately be chosen by the events committee of World Sailing (WS), kiting’s governing body under the International Olympic Committee (IOC), possibly in May next year.

But first comes the thorny issue of inclusion. WS is under pressure from the IOC to include kiting in its line-up (and to achieve gender equality), but is not able to increase the 10 medals available, which means that one or more sailing events would have to be cut or re-grouped to get kiting into the Olympics.

WS is due to discuss its plans for the medals line-up at its annual conference in Barcelona in November, which will give a strong indication as to kiting’s prospects. A final decision will be taken at a WS special assembly in February by delegates from Member National Authorities (MNA).

A decision to include kiting would then have to be agreed by the IOC in June.

Most of the racers are extremely keen to see kiting win an Olympics slot, and were comfortable with the plan outlined. But they were anxious to get the message out that concerned kiters needed to push and educate their own country’s MNA delegates on the kiting’s merits, and stressed the desirability IKA should launch its own sophisticated media and PR drive to ensure success.

Similarly, the brands represented, Flysurfer and particularly Ozone, were alarmed at the prospect of one company cornering the Olympic market.

Neil Pryde has IOC connections as the maker of windsurfing’s RS:X class, and industry rivals fear it could use their new CR:X one design hybrid class as a bridgehead to be chosen for the 2020 Games.

Report credits: Ian MacKinnon
photo credits: Alexandru Baranescu

MEN Overall standings after five races (one discard):
1 Nico Parlier (FRA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 4pts
2 Riccardo Leccese (ITA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 5pts
3 Maxime Nocher (MON, F-One/Banga) — 8pts

WOMEN Overall standings after five races (one discard):
1 Daniela Moroz (USA, Ozone/Mike’s Lab) — 4pts
2 Elena Kalinina (RUS, Elf/Banga) — 8pts
3 Steph Bridge (GBR, Flysurfer/Levitaz) —16pts

Full results men:
http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2016FormulaKiteWorldsOverallMen.pdf

Full results women:
http://formulakite.com/images/documents/2016FormulaKiteWorldsOverallWomen.pdf

Daily highlight videos are available from our Youtube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNAFyjJcjSsas1OHL6hyM8w
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