Young kiteboarders from around the world can now look forward to competing in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Buenos Aires, following a confirmation from the ISAF Executive Committee during its session at the 2015 midyear meeting of the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). The IOC Executive Board will confirm the final list of events for all sports of the 2018 Youth Olympic Games during its session in early June.
Following final IOC confirmation, kiteboarding will be included as one of the four sailing events in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games. This is a significant milestone in ISAFs continuing bid to include kiteboarding in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, as the 2018 event will showcase formats and equipment with the potential for inclusion in Tokyo.
Mirco Babini, President of the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) said: “This is an important development in our Olympic journey and we are excited that young kiteboarders will be given the first opportunity to showcase their talent at the 2018 Youth Olympics. Young athletes now have a serious goal to strive for, and as many of our top sailors will be in the right age range for the Youth Olympics, we are sure that the highest performance will be guaranteed. This is going to be a terrific event for both competitors and spectators alike.”
The 2018 Youth Olympics will feature an event for the best 12 male and best 12 female competitors in the world aged between 15 and 18 (ie born between 01.01.2000 and 31.12.2003). Additionally, for the first time in a sailing competition, both male and female competitors can participate and represent the same country.
One of the main interests of the International Olympic Committee is universality, especially with regard to expanding the sport to Asia and Africa. As a balance between universality and innovation, IKA Formula Kite has been selected as the Olympic Equipment over Twin Tips and Foil Boards.
“Formula Kite provides a stable equipment platform across the world. Even in the lightest wind conditions, we can showcase high performance sailing and display the sport at its best. Twin Tip Racing remains our grassroots racing equipment, and we continue to race hydrofoils experimentally without equipment limitations”, said Markus Schwendtner, CEO of IKA.
“For the Youth Olympic Games however, it’s important to use equipment that is readily available so that National Federations (MNAs) can kick off their athlete programs quickly and with certainty. This is why ISAF has selected Formula Kite. We are happy to offer every assistance to interested MNAs, from obtaining equipment right through to coaching,” Mr Schwendtner added.
The format for the Youth Olympics will be based on the short track format used in the 2014 Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi. Competitors race each other in heats, followed by a stage of semi-finals, and a concluding (winner takes all) final. In order to explore all potential options for Tokyo 2020, the course features may include boundaries on the sides of the course as well as jumps.
ISAF has also confirmed that kiteboarding will be included in the 2019 World Beach Games alongside windsurfing. The World Beach Games are said to become the third biggest sporting event in the world after the Olympic Games and the FIFA Soccer World Cup. Pending final confirmation, the 2019 World Beach Games will be held in Socchi, Russia. The equipment and format are yet to be confirmed, but it is expected that any related decisions will follow the Olympic Pathway. The World Beach Games 2019 will be open to competitors of any age.
The next IKA Formula Kite events will be:
Sailing World Cup Weymouth – June 8 to 14, 2015
European Championships Bozcaada – June 23 to 28, 2015
World Championships Gizzeria – July 14 to 19, 2015