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Sharon Kantor (ISR) and Nicolo Renna (ITA) are the new iQFOiL world champions

Kantor also wins selection for her country and at the age of 20 she will compete in her first Olympics in Marseille. 

Story by: Helena Paz

Credit: @SailingEnergy / @iQFOiLClass 2024 World Champions Nicolo Renna (ITA) & Sharon Kantor (ISR)

Marina Rubicón (Lanzarote, Canary Islands), February 3, 2024

A thrilling final day of the iQFOiL World Championships, the Olympic windsurfing class, in Lanzarote saw both of the racers who had dominated through the week beaten in the Men’s and Women’s Grand Finals. Italy’s Nicolo Renna, third last year, won the title in the Grand Final for the Men and Israel’s Sharon Kantor won the Women’s world title when she overhauled Britain’s Emma Wilson, who had stamped her authority over the entire championship until the final title showdown. 

The nine day championship mustered 200 athletes from 43 countries at Marina Rubicón in Lanzarote. And today’s Grand Final again proved how exciting and how cruel the new Olympic windsurfing format can be, since the winner takes it all. All that matters is who is first across the finish line in the one Grand Final race.

There were between nine and 11 knots of easterly winds today and a big crowd gathered in front of the Marina Rubicon breakwall to enjoy the action. 

Sharon Kantor beats championship leader Emma Wilson. 

The women raced first. In the quarterfinals, in which seven compete and only two go forwards to the Semifinal, it was Sharon Kantor (ISR) and Sara Wennekes (NED) who progressed to join Pilar Lamadrid (ESP) and Katy Spychakov (ISR) in the Semis. Having finished on top of the qualifying phases Briton Wilson was already in the Grand Final. 

Katy Spychakov and Sharon Kantor made it to the Grand Final joining Wilson to compete in the last race on the Lanzarote regatta course.

Bronze in the last World Championship in The Hague when she had again led into last day and winner of a bronze medal in Tokyo, Wilson went straight to the Grand Final after winning 15 from 20 races. She jumped the start gun on the first attempt which requires her to take a five second delay to the second attempt. Even so it did not matter and Wilson started the Grand Final recovering those five seconds and taking the lead but the Israeli girl got through to win the title and secure her spot at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games for her country. 

"It hasn't been easy!" she grinned as soon as she crossed the line. "The last race was so tough, and Emma and Katy were so fast! It was a nice fight. I have really enjoyed this event, I have had ups and downs. I am very grateful to have succeeded in the end.

Nicolo Renna takes the risk and wins

Defending Dutch world champion Luuc van Opzeeland and Renna have swapped 2023 results. 

The Dutch 2023 world champion, like Wilson, remained on the top of the rankings through the whole week and also had gone straight to the Grand Final. But this time it was the Italian who prevailed. 

The Italian Nicolo Renna and Pawel Tarnowski (POL) emerged victorious from the Semifinal to face each other in a quick Grand Final - it was resolved in seven minutes – along with the defending champion Luuc van Opzeeland (NED), the big title favourite in Lanzarote.

After an intense start and several lead changes on the last upwind the Italian decided to go to the right, a decision that paid off for him. “I saw that they were going to the other side, I was last so I thought 'come on, let's try it' and it all came good.

The Italian was delighted but paid tribute to his friend and rival. “We have been together for two months in Lanzarote and it paid off.

Pawel Tarnowski wins silver while Luuc van Opzeeland finishes third in the key event before the Olympics: “I had a fabulous start and I thought I rounded the gate first and then I picked the wrong side and I realized half way that the left was not working but I tried to do an early tack but It didn't pay off downwind. It’s been an amazing week, I am super happy with the result and proud of Nicolo.”, he pointed out.

The iQFOiL World Championships are organized by Marina Rubicón and has the collaboration of the Royal Canarian Sailing Federation, as well as the institutional support of the Tourism area of the Lanzarote Cabildo through the sports product European Sports Destination (managed by SPEL-Turismo Lanzarote), Promotur Turismo de Canarias, the Yaiza City Council and the private entities Dinghycoach, Naviera Armas and Cabrera Medina (Cicar).

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