Three-time Olympic champion says he is "disappointed" by ISAF's decision to drop the Star class from the 2016 Games
In response to the International Sailing Federation’s (ISAF) decision to drop the Star class for the 2016 Games in Brazil, Ben Ainslie said that he was “dissappointed,” adding “I think you will lose a lot of the top sailors from the Olympics.”
“It’s a big shame and I really don’t fully understand the decision. There have been massive changes in the last three to five years and real turmoil in the sport, I think it would be really good to get some focus now and move forwards.”
British duo Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson won gold in 2008 (Beijing) in the Star class. They added the world crown to their Olympic title in 2010, but will now have to rethink if they are to return for the 2016 Games.
Since its debut at the 1932 Olympics, the Star has missed just one Games – the 1974 Montreal Olympics. It was provisionally dropped before the 2000 Sydney Games, before being reinstated.
Another controversial revision is the dropping of the Elliott 6m class after the London 2010 event, meaning there will be no keelboat fleets in Brazil.
A further suggestion could see the removal of windsurfing, which has been part of the Olympics since 1984, in favour of kitesurfing.
Nick Dempsey, who won a windsurfing bronze medal at the Athens Olympics and was world champion in 2009, says he has serious reservations about the suggestions. “Kitesurfing is a new sport, it’s great, but is it ready for an Olympic Games? I don’t think it is.”
“I hope windsurfing will stay in [the Olympics] and maybe kite-surfing will be in as well come 2020, but they [ISAF] do what they do,” Dempsey added.