Ellie Aldridge won the first major senior title of her Olympic career at the 2023 Formula Kite European Championships in Portsmouth, England.
In the women’s competition Lily Young of Great Britain and Annelous Lammerts of The Netherlands won through from their semi-finals to join Ellie Aldridge (GBR) and Poema Newland (FRA) who had already earned their place in the finals.
With the target three race wins, Aldridge only needed to win one, already having two from the previous rounds.
In the first race with victory within her grasp she lost control of her kite at the final mark, and Lammerts swept past to her first win.
In the second race Aldridge again led and made no mistake this time gybing safely to cross the line ahead and claim the European title. Lammerts claimed the silver and Newland the bronze.
In the men, Maxime Nocher of France and Jannis Maus of Germany successfully won their respective semi-finals to line up in the four-rider final against the two Italians, Riccardo Pianosi and Lorenzo Boschetti.
In the first race it was Nocher who took the first win as Pianosi struggled with weed, setting up a match race with Pianosi, who already had two wins.
There was no problem this time with Pianosi leading for most of the two-lap course and celebratingwith a huge jump as he crossed the line to claim his first European title.
The other major prize at stake was a qualification place for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Gisela Pulido didn’t make it to the women’s final, but had done enough to qualify Spain, and Jannis Maus who, just missed out on a medal in the men’s final, still qualified Germany.
Britain still need to qualify for the 2024 Olympics after Britain’s Connor Bainbridge went out in his semi-final, finishing fifth.
Bainbridge will now have to wait until the Semaine Olympique Française regatta in April next year to have another shot at qualifying Great Britain for a place on the Paris 2024 start line.
Men Final – first to 3 wins
Gold ITA Riccardo Pianosi – – 1 1 4 1
Silver FRA Maxime Nocher – – – – 1 1 2
Bronze ITA Lorenzo Boschetti – – – – – – 3 4
4th GER Jannis Maus – – – – – – 2 3
Women Final – first to 3 wins
Gold GBR Ellie Aldridge – – 1 1 RET 1
Silver NED Annelous Lammerts – – – – – – 1 3
Bronze FRA Poema Newland – – – – – – 2 5
4th GBR Lily Young – – – – – – 4 2