British windsurfers set for breezy world championship battle

Team GB windsurfers, Tom Squires and Emma Wilson, will be relishing the forecast for big breeze as they take on the RS:X World Championships which starts today – one of the last major events before Tokyo 2020.

Squires is known for excelling in strong winds, and that’s just what the 46 male and 30 female athletes have in store over the course of the five-day regatta. The current forecast in Cadiz, Spain, suggests winds could hit more than 30 knots at times as the athletes battle it out to go into the Olympics as world champions.

“My favourite conditions are always going to be stormy high wind days, and it looks like there’s a storm on the horizon,” says 27-year-old Squires.

Squires and Wilson have been training in Cadiz ever since the European Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal, at the beginning of March. But with the rest of the British Sailing Team windsurfers already switched to the iQFOiL, the equipment for the Paris 2024 Games, both athletes have had to adapt their training plans.

For Squires this has meant joining forces with a handful of international rivals including reigning world champion Kiran Badloe from the Netherlands. “This month I have been doing a large training block in Santa Pola, a nine-hour drive north of Cadiz, with the Dutch, Spanish, New Zealand and Norwegian lads,” he says. “With all British RS:X windsurfers migrating to the new iQFOiL this kind of training setup is new to me, but it’s actually been great.

“It’s had some logistical challenges, but the tight-knit ‘Dutch training bubble’ includes Kiran and some other outright legends. It’s been perfect for me to get up to speed in all conditions. This world championships will be the last competition before the Olympics and I’m feeling good on and off the water. It’s been a while since I’ve felt good on the water – it’s taken four years to get to a standard where I feel confident with both my environment and my equipment.”

Wilson, 22, narrowly missed out on a podium spot at the European Championships last month, coming home fifth. With Tokyo 2020 less than three months away, she is planning on making the most of the opportunity to face her international rivals one last time before heading to Japan.

“We’ve had some great training in Cadiz in some glamour conditions,” says Wilson, “but for the regatta it looks like we might get some good old British weather. That means plenty of opportunities, and I’m looking forward to the challenge. The worlds could possibly be my last competition until the Olympics so as always I will give it my all and enjoy it.”

Racing will conclude on Tuesday April 27.

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This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

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