Kiteboarding is out and windsurfing back in for the 2020 Games
The decision to replace windsurfing with kiteboarding was met with surprise and disappointment when it was first announced earlier this year. Many saw the move as an impulsive reaction to attract a new, younger audience to the Olympics, others saw the change as a necessary move to modernise the sport. Whatever the reasons, the decision sparked plenty of debate.
Now the decision has been reversed and windsurfing is back in the Olympic Games for 2012.
The RYA was quick to issue a statement on the change of plan.
The Royal Yachting Association has welcomed today’s decision by delegates at the International Sailing Federation’s General Assembly to re-introduce RS:X windsurfing for the 2016 Olympic Games in place of kiteboard racing.
ISAF Council voted to replace the men’s and women’s windsurfing disciplines with men’s and women’s kiteboard racing at its mid-year meetings in May of this year, and again reaffirmed this position at its meeting yesterday, but the wider ISAF membership reversed the decision at the General Assembly today, voting in favour of RS:X windsurfing for the Rio Games.
RYA Racing Manager and Performance Director John Derbyshire said: “This is what the membership of the RYA asked for – we have a very strong youth pathway and some 10,000 windsurfing members of the RYA, so on their behalf we are delighted with the decision.
“We obviously have great compassion towards the kiteboarding community, with whom we have been working very closely, and I am sure that they will continue to work very closely with both the RYA and ISAF families with a view to gaining inclusion for the discipline in future Olympic Games.
“We can now look forward to preparing for Rio 2016 with the clarity that this decision brings.”
ISAF issued its own statement which, if nothing else, highlights the technical and political complexity of reversing the decision.
The Olympic events and equipment was high on the agenda of the ISAF Council and after hearing the reports from the 2012 ISAF events and the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, business moved on to discussing submissions.
23 submissions relating to the events and equipment for Rio 2016 were received by ISAF in advance of the Conference. In accordance with the ISAF Regulations, before the detail of any of these particular submissions could be discussed, Council were required to vote on a motion to re-open the debate on the subject. The Regulations specify that 75% of members must agree to the motion.
The submissions were presented as six proposals and Council asked to vote on them in terms of the specific changes they proposed. The first proposal grouped together the submissions that only dealt with men’s kiteboarding and women’s kiteboarding (020-12, 025-12, 027-12, 050-12, 051-12, 052-12, 053-12, 054-12, 055-12, 056-12, 057-12, 058-12 and 062-12). 26 Council members voted in favour and 12 were against.
Proposal 2, which featured Submission 063-12, related to Men’s Kiteboarding, Women’s Kiteboarding and 2nd One Person Dinghy – Finn. 14 Council members voted in favour and 23 were against and 1 abstained.
Proposals 3, 4, 5 & 6 relating to Submissions 064-12, 065-12, 071-12 and 094-12 respectively did not receive the required proposer and seconder around the table so were not considered.
With 38 possible votes, the 75% requirement was not achieved on either proposal so the events and equipment as approved in May 2012 remain for Rio 2016.
However, at the ISAF General Assembly part of the business for the 106 Member National Authorities (MNAs) who were present was to review any regulations made or amended in any substantive way by Council since the last Ordinary Meeting which was in November 2011.
ISAF had been notified of three amendments proposed by MNAs which concerned the first two lines of Regulation 23.1.4 (Men’s and Women’s Kiteboarding).
As defined in the Articles of ISAF, decisions at the General Assembly shall be taken by a simple majority of votes of those present and entitled to vote. There were 114 possible voters, including the ISAF President and Vice-Presidents.
After a lengthy debate the MNAs approved the first proposal which reinstated Men’s and Women’s Boards – RS:X.
ISAF Regulation 23.1.4 now reads:
Men’s Board – RS:X
Women’s Board – RS:X
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser
Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial
Men’s 2nd One Person Dinghy – Finn
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFX
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470
Mixed Two Person Multihull – Nacra 17