Olympics: Disappointment as windsurfing dropped from 2016 Games
LINCOLNSHIRE water enthusiasts have had the wind taken from their sails after their sport was dropped from the Olympic schedule.
The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) have decided to replace windsurfing with kitesurfing ahead of the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
That means London could potentially host the last ever RS-X competition this year, although that decision will come under review in November.
ISAF members will need to vote strongly in favour of the prospected overturn – the sport requires a two-thirds majority to revive its place at the iconic summer event.
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North Lincolnshire & Humberside Sailing Club (NLHSC) instructor Angelique Lansley expressed her concern to the Telegraph.
She said: "I was at the meeting when the news came through and it all happened very quickly. It was a shame it had to be replaced by kitesurfing, but there are only so many medals for sailing.
"Apparently there are more than one and a half million people taking part in kitesurfing in the UK. It is usually a freestyle discipline, but the Olympic event is about racing – and only 300 or so can do that.
"You have to be a lot stronger for the MacKay FX (kitesurfing) board. There are very few clubs that offer the sport inland, and the ones that do on the coast are expensive. It is quite elitist in comparison with windsurfing.
"With just two people representing each country at the Olympics, there is obviously a small chance for people to end up going. But it was a dream for many of our sailors until it was taken away."
Although she was upset by ISAF's decision Lansley, who was born in Belgium but now lives in Barton, still had reason for optimism.
The 43-year-old NLHSC vice commodore said: "We have been told that our OnBoard funding will continue for at least two years, even though the sport has been dropped.
"At first our younger members at the club were distraught, they though that was it for them. But as time passed they now think it can be overturned. They have realised how much they love the sport.
"There will still be World Championships and events like that to target. Hopefully that will also ISAF to see how popular windsurfing is and put pressure on them to reverse the decision."
In what could be the final year for Olympic windsurfing, Nick Dempsey and Bryony Shaw will represent Team GB at the home London Games – both are among the favourites to take gold.