Ashkenazi stretches her legs in the girls Formula Kiteboarding Youth Worlds Day 3
Day three of the Kitefoiling Youth World Championships brought strong but unpredictable breeze that made it hard to choose the right size kite. As ever, staying out of trouble was a vital part of success, and avoiding the ever-present risk of a high-speed wipeout.
Three wins from four for Max Maeder of Singapore in the boys’ Formula Kite
Three wins from four for Israel’s Maya Ashkenazi in the girls’ Formula Kite
Three wins from four for Jan Koszowski of Poland who closes the gap to the lead to just two points in the Youth Foil U17 class.
Formula Kite U21 (Male)
Today was the moment the two frontrunners squared off against each other, the ‘old’ rivals, 16-year-old Riccardo Pianosi (ITA) v 15-year-old Max Maeder (SGP). Having raced on opposite sides of the qualifying split, now it was the Italian and Singaporean lining up on the Gold Fleet start line alongside 19 other top riders in the Formula Kite class.
Maeder came out on top, winning three of the four races, finishing 5th in the third heat after a couple of wipeouts. “Everyone was wiping out at some point,” said Maeder. “It’s part of the game when you’re pushing. Maybe one of my crashes was from weed, hard to say, but the other was me just trying to push my advantage on Riccardo and paying the price.”
Pianosi won the third heat with China’s Qibin Huang picking up the second of his two second places, although he also scored a 16th and DNC for failing to finish the last race of the afternoon following a collision with Pianosi. Huang protested the Italian but Huang was found to be at fault. So Huang's DNC remains, meaning the Chinese slips to 20 points behind Pianosi. The battle for gold looks increasingly like a two-horse race between Singapore and Italy.
Huang will have his work cut out trying to defend third place from a fast-improving pack behind him. Just 2.7 points separate Huang, Arthur Lhez (FRA), Tiger Tyson (ANT), Noah Runciman (USA) and Vojtech Koska (CZE). Where they finish by the end of Saturday is crucial, as the higher the finish, the better placed they’ll be going into the Semi-Final phase of the Medal Series.
Formula Kite U21 (Female)
Israel’s Maya Ashkenazi stretched her legs in the girls’ fleet today, winning the first three races and rounding off the day with a 4th place. Super-consistent sailing which puts Ashkenazi ahead of her Israel teammate Gal Zukerman by 8 points. Zukerman notched up a string of three 2nds and ended the day with a 6th. The normally ever-smiling Zukerman was as angry as she could manage after racing, claiming she had twice been fouled by a competitor who she felt was pushing the rules. “I’m not going to protest, I didn’t have a witness, but it’s frustrating.” The answer for tomorrow? “Go faster, get ahead.”
Defending world champion Julia Damasiewicz won the final race of the afternoon which keeps the Polish rider well in contention, just three points behind Zukerman. Other girls who raced a very solid set of four races include Heloise Pegourie (FRA) and Magda Woyciechowska (POL), and they’re fourth and fifth overall respectively.
Youth Foil U17 (Boys & Girls)
Defending champion Jan Koszowski (POL) closed the gap to the lead to just two points behind Gian Andrea Stragiotti (SUI). The Pole and the Swiss won a race each in the first two heats but Koszowski went on to the win the next two, a next-to-perfect performance that sets the stage for a great match duel between the two rivals. A similar battle is setting up for third and fourth places between Jakub Balewicz from Poland and Enzo Louber from France.
Stragiotti gave credit to Koszowski for the precision of his racecraft today, while the Swiss rider was kicking himself for overstanding laylines. “I sailed more distance than I needed to, so that’s something to work on tomorrow,” he said.
Getting to the Sharp End
Racing continues on Saturday at 1400 hours local time in Sardinia, with the live broadcast starting at 1340 hours. The critical goals is to make the cut for the top 10 and into the Semi-Finals on Sunday. Watch the world’s best young kitefoilers in action this weekend.
Formula Kite Male (12 races, 3 discards)
1 SGP Maximilian Maeder 9pts
2 ITA Riccardo Pianosi 11pts
3 CHN Qibin Huang 31pts
Full results: www.formulakite.org
Formula Kite Female (12 races, 3 discards)
1 ISR Maya Ashkenaz 17pts
2 ISR Gal Zukerman 25pts
3 POL Julia Damasiewicz 28pts
Full results: www.formulakite.org
A's YouthFoil (12 races, 3 discards)
1 SUI Gian Andrea Stragiotti 12pts
2 POL Jan Koszowski 14pts
3 POL Jakub Balewicz 27pts
Full results: www.youthfoil.org