The 'International iQFOil Games Andalucía/Bahía de Cádiz' kicks off with some of the best windsurfers off the world.
- The Andalusian event is the only one in the world where the senior and junior categories of the new Olympic class share the stage.
- The regatta starts this Tuesday with nearly 200 windsurfers from 20 countries competing for the overall titles.
Bay of Cadiz, March 5, 2023
The spectacle does not stop in the bay of Cadiz and when barely a week has passed since the Andalusian Olympic Week, it is now the iQFOil class that claims the spotlight, facing the third stop of the International Games series in the new Olympic Windsurfing Discipline that will be premiered at the Olympic Games in Paris 2024.
This event is the only event where all iQFOiL Classes race at the same time in the same location. U17 and U19 iQFOiL athletes are being given the chance to share the podium with their Windsurfing Idols. By bringing all classes together we try to inspire the younger windsurfers who get to have a look at what lays ahead of them if they continue racing in our class at the highest level.
“That is why this event holds so much value for us as a class, the only way to inspire new generiations of windsurfers is by showing them the road that lays ahead of them" says Gonzalo Costa, manager of the International iQFOil Class Association. "This is the second year we are here, and already see an growth in competitors compared to last year. This is a clear example of the good performance of the Andalusian Sailing Federation and the regatta area for the iQFOil here in the bay of Cadiz, proof of which is that we will be having the Youth/Junior World Championship here later this year in October. It is not easy to find aplace that has the right infrastructure and is capable of hosting an event of this size with over 300 athetes coming down here to fight for the titels.”
Looking ahead to the regatta starting this Tuesday, among the men the list of favourites includes Frenchman Adrien Mestre, recent winner of the Lanzarote international regatta, Finland's Jacob Eklund and the American team led by Geronimo Nores and Andalucia Olympic Week runner-up Noah Lyon. In the Under 21 category, the Italian Manolo Modena, who came second at the Europeans and winner of the first edition in the Under 19 category, is already competing in the top fleet.
Among the women, the large U21 fleet is striking, with the Italians and Czechs being the favourites, who are arriving in Cadiz after having competed against each other in the younger categories before. Also standing out as strong contenders for the medals are the Turkish Merve Vatan; the defending champion, the Italian Sofia Renna; last year's winner in the Under 19 category, the Czech Nela Sadilkova, and among the seniors, the Finn Aleksandra Blinnikka.
In the national fleet, the young Antonio Medina from RC El Candado is the only Spaniard defending his title in the Under 17 category and he will do so against other favourites such as the Catalan Sandro Portune, a member of the CN Salou team who will be in the Cadiz bay. Among the U17 girls, along with the defending champion, Poland's María Rudowicz, Melilla's Azul Sánchez Vallejo stands out, in full evolution in this class after becoming Techno world champion last year.
In the U19 men's fleet, the most outstanding of the nationals is Javier Hernández Perelló from the Balearic Islands, as well as Luca Casas, who is also showing promise. Among the Andalusians, the windsurfer of the RC El Candado, Ángel Medina, great favourite after being the best Spaniard a week ago in the same waters, or Arturo Arauz of the CN Puerto Sherry, among others.
In girls, Barbara Winau and Ariadna Patiño, both from the Balearic Islands, who did very well in last year's European Championships in Garda, and the Andalusian Arancha Sauquillo from CN Sevilla, who is the most deserving of a place in the pools, stand out.
Finally, among the seniors, hopes are pinned on the Andalusians Fernando Martínez del Cerro (CV Dársena), Curro Manchón and Aurelio Terry (CN Sevilla) and the windsurfer from CN Puerto Sherry, Alejandro Arauz. The Andalusian sailors are the top of the pools in the Spanish objective due to the absence of the members of the national pre-Olympic team, including the women's team, who are already preparing in Palma de Mallorca for the Trofeo Princesa Sofía, the first selection test for the eventual test in July in the waters of Marseille.
After the first day of measurements and registration of participants, the qualifying races for the 'International iQFOil Games/Andalucía/Bahía de Cádiz' will begin on Tuesday 7 March at 12:00 noon, with a total of 20 races scheduled until Saturday 11 March. The first four days will be qualifying races and the fifth and final day will be for the different medal races reserved for the top ten in each fleet, of which the first classified will go directly to the finals, the second and third to the semi-finals, and the fourth to tenth to the quarter-finals.
For its organization, the Andalusian Sailing Federation is sponsored by the Junta de Andalucía, the Diputación de Cádiz, the City Council of El Puerto de Santa María, Puerto Sherry and Tactic Audiovisual, and the collaboration of the Andalusian Centre of Sports Medicine.