The IKA think it’s time this sport got a spot in the Olympics. Kite racing has everything that an Olympic sport requires: skill, thrills, entertainment, great athletes… I could go on and on.
And the sport has advanced to such an extent that it is not necessary to have big winds anymore – 4 knots and you skim across the surface. More than that and you fly.
On the 2nd August 2010, the IKA (International Kitesurfing Association) kicked off its campaign for inclusion in the Olympic Sailing Program at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. The campaign is already carrying a lot of momentum – well-known personalities such as Virgin Group Chairman Sir Richard Branson (GBR), double Olympic Medalist Michael Gebhardt (USA), 9x Kiteboarding World Champion Kristin Boese (GER), world leader in the marine and adventure sports market Neil Pryde (NZL) and many more are supporting the effort with full force.
Pryde said “Kiteboarding today represents the cutting edge of sailing. This is a sport that combines athletic ability with equipment skills and it is easily accessible to participants world-wide. The Olympic Games stand at the pinnacle of sailing and it is therefore logical and natural that Kiteboarding has a place in Olympic Yachting.”
As we well know, Sir Richard Branson is also an avid supporter of kitesurfing and has described it as one of his favourite sports. so much so that he had hoped to celebrate his 60th birthday with a successful kite crossing of the English Channel in the company of family and friends, but unfortunately, just 1 hour and 10 minutes into the crossing the attempt had to be abandoned due to strong winds and a choppy sea.
He is putting his considerable weight, literally not figuratively, behind the campaign saying “Kiteboarding is a fun and spectacular sport that I think would make a tremendously exciting addition to the Olympic Games”.
The road to the Olympics should be made easier by the fact that kitesurfing appeals to such a broad spectrum of the market. It’s a sport that girls and boys can start at a relatively tender age and continue for as long as you have the strength to do it. Richard Branson, at 60, can testify to that. He was hoping to become the oldest person to cross the Channel on a kiteboard and thus get his name into the Guinness Book of Records.
He is not likely to give up the challenge…
In the meantime the first event of the KTA 2010 –2011 Asia Tour kicks off in Cesme Turkey. The event will take place from September 22 till 26.