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Kiteboarding plan their way to Olympics in 2020

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

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Key among the elite Kite racers’ fears is that the Neil Pryde group — Cabrinha’s parent company — is attempting to establish a “one design” CR:X class.

This is a convertible low performance foil and twin-tip board, and tube kite, in the hope of establishing a “class” and offering if for Olympics inclusion.

Schwendtner told them 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.

This one design model to be used in the Olympic Games and it’s qualifier events, 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 could ultimately be chosen by the equipment and events committees of World Sailing (WS), kiting’s governing body under the International Olympic Committee (IOC), possibly in May 2017.

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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 some creative work needs to be done with regard to the events of the current classes 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 2016.

This 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 2017.

Most of the racers are extremely keen to see kiting win an Olympics slot, and were comfortable with the plan outlined.

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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 at the Worlds, 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 and riders alike fear it could use their new CR:X one design hybrid class as a bridgehead to be chosen for the 2020 Games.

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G New
14 September 2016 17:09 GMT


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