Kiteboarding has been selected as a new sailing event in the Youth Olympic Games, October 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. To be more precise, the new format TT:R (twin-tip slalom racing) has been selected as a new discipline in the Youth Olympics. It is a great achievement for all kiteboarding community and for the sport itself. During the last decade, this sport has gained a lot of popularity and is still rapidly growing world-wide. It is expected that kiteboarding will be a showcase event in 2020 Olympics in Tokyo and in 2024 Olympics in Paris kiteboarding enters as an Olympic discipline.
The International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) is responsible for promoting kiteboarding sport on a global level and are holding World Championships for each of the classes of kiteboarding. From 20th to 25th February 2018, Dakhla Attitude hotel was hosting one of the most awaited kitesurfing events of the year – the qualifications to the Youth Olympic Games for Africa and Europe. Let’s see what we have learned from this competition.
TT:R slalom race is a high speed downwind race with less focus on tactics and more on the board and kite control. The riders are following a set track with obstacles that they need to jump over. All athletes are racing against each other throughout multiple heats, the best 3 riders are advancing the semi-finals and finals, based on elimination system. In the competition hosted in Dakhla, there were 8-person heats each lasting 6 minutes. All participants were allowed to use only traditional twin-tip kiteboards and tube kites.
The continental qualifications to the Youth Olympic Games in Dakhla, gathered young athletes aged between 15 and 18. In total, 61 riders – 32 boys and 18 girls from Europe and 8 boys and 3 girls from Africa have registered to the event.
There are two important parts of TT:R competition – start and penalties. A good start is a key element for getting ahead of all the competitors and winning the race. There are no exception for penalties – all riders are penalised for tangles or touching other riders’ kites at the tight mark roundings. Read more about the penalty system here.
All participants are allowed to use only traditional twin-tip kiteboards and Leading Edge Inflatable kites. Only 4 kites and 1 board per participant may be registered to be used during the event. The kites must be chosen in 4 size categories to cover the whole wind range from light to strong winds. The kite sizes should vary: large (15m or bigger), medium (11m – 15 m), small (9m – 11m) and x-small (9m and smaller). A detachable kite leash, harness, helmet, floating or impact west shall must be used. All equipment must comply with International IKA Twin Tip Racing class rules that can be found here.
The minimum wind to start the race is between 8-10 knots (depending on wind density and current). Therefore, during the competition there were two light wind days that gave an opportunity for Dakhla Attitude to introduce cultural and no-wind activities to all event participants. Besides tasting different local dishes every day, all young riders had a chance to meet a group of children from Dakhla and teach them the basics of kitesurfing. Aziz Ouakrim, a local kitesurfing instructor and a member of the “Association of Dakhla Lagoon”, said that this event is a great opportunity for local children to discover kitesurfing and give them example for the future. In addition, young riders participated in the “art class” and were doing watercolor painting on their bodies.
- THE WINNERS
On the last day of racing, Dakhla delivered hard conditions due to strong and variable winds. It was intense day for all riders as they were pushing limits and fighting on the water till the very last minute of the competition. It was a great day for Morocco, as national rider Jonas Ouahmid won the race and he qualified Morocco to the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires this October. Meanwhile, in the girls’ African division, Rut Gouws from South Africa won the first place. On the European podium, Sofia Tomasoni from Italy was dominant in the girls’ European division during all competition, so she took over the winner’s title even before the last race. There was more tension in the boy’s European division, where Toni Vodisek from Slovenia won against France’s Benoit Gomez by less than one point.
To sum up, Dakhla Attitude hotel is proud to be the host and the official sponsor for the continental qualifications to the Youth Olympics. It is the first hotel that contributes to the promotion of the water sports, sustainability and Dakhla as a first-choice destination in kitesurf tourism. Day-to-day event overview can be found on our website. Congratulations to all the winners, participants, organisers and the local authority!
We would like to thank our sponsors and partners who made this event happen! They trusted us, they supported us, they believed in us! Special thanks to media, press, audiovisual press and of course, the organisers!
#DakhlaAttitude #YOGDakhla #Dakhla #Kitesurf #DAKHLAJOJ18 #IKA #KitesurfMaroc #LagonDakhla #YOG2018 #Morocco #ONMT #MDJS #AINATLAS #MJS #SNRT #AGENCEMAP #2MMAROC #CNOM
- All videos from the qualifiers to the Youth Olympic Games Dakhla can be found on Dakhla Attitude Youtube channel.
- Watch the official event videos from the continental qualifications to the Youth Olympic Games Dakhla 2018 from TwinTip: Racing and Icarus sports.
- Video about Moroccan riders from Dakhla Events.
Photo credits Ludovic Franco
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