Asian nations set to bat for windsurfing

Windsurfing will be backed strongly for reinstatement at the 2016 Rio Olympics at the International Sailing Federation (Isaf) annual conference in November.

The reconstituted Asian Sailing Federation (Asaf) will table a submission at the conference in Ireland in favour of the event's return at the 2016 Games. Member federations will also table individual submissions.

Windsurfing was omitted in favour of kiteboarding for the 2016 Games at an Isaf council meeting in early May, leading to many protests worldwide.

Asaf's decision to back windsurfing was made at its extraordinary general meeting (EOGM) in Singapore last Saturday.

Said Singapore Sailing Federation (SSF) president Dr Ben Tan: "Singapore tabled the windsurfing issue for the EGM and Hong Kong provided strong and objective data to support windsurfing's case at the meeting.

"All the Asian countries were unanimous in their support for windsurfing. Asaf will make a unified submission for the Isaf meeting in November, with member federations making individual submissions in support as well."

The Spanish Sailing Federation recently acknowledged that its delegate voted for kiteboarding in error at the Isaf meeting in May.

"I am optimistic that Isaf will be sensible enough to reverse the decision in favour of windsurfing, as the class meets all of the IOC's (International Olympic Commitee) requirements to be an Olympic sport," added Dr Tan.

Windsurfing has been an Olympic sport since the 1984 Los Angeles Games. This year's Games in London from July 27 to Aug 12 will feature the RS:X event.

Right now, SSF has between eight to 10 windsurfers in the national team and it hopes to send windsurfers to the 2016 Rio Games.

sayheng@sph.com.sg

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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