Polish training partners Magda Woyciechowska and Julia Damasiewicz grabbed the top spots in the standings in the women’s fleet at the Formula Kite World Championships in China in fickle breezes that got the best of most of their rivals.
The duo, both just 14, leap-frogged overnight leader, local favourite Jingle Chen (CHN), to secure the leaderboard’s first and second spots respectively in finely judged racing.
In breezes that toyed with race officials, often dipping below 6kts and rarely getting above 8kts, Woyciechowska scored two bullets from the only two races possible in the start-stop racing off Guangxi province’s Beihai city.
On day three of the scheduled six at the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) Formula Kite Asians, the men’s fleet racing separately also only managed to get in two races, with a third abandoned when the already light breeze completely died on parts of the course.
Still, Russia’s Denis Taradin had used the opening two contests to extend his points lead. Rivals in 17-strong fleet had few answers to his pace and tactical awareness that gave him healthy leads and earned him two bullets.
Many of the athletes in the 26-strong roster from 11 nations, including the Polish teenagers, hope to post sufficiently-strong performances to win enough ranking points to secure themselves a spot at the inaugural World Beach Games in San Diego where kiting will make its debut.
But first Woyciechowska and Damasiewicz had to make up for lost ground after they were obliged to retire for mistakenly sailing the wrong course on day one. Woyceichowska did that in style on day three taking wins as others failed to complete the course, finishing long before rivals—alternately Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS) and Damasiewicz.
In her day’s second race she was harried by Chen and Damasiewicz all the way round the rhomboid track just off the beach. But Chen failed to ley the final top mark and put her kite down in a lull, never to recover.
“It was really really light, but it was OK,” said Woyciechowska, who revels in the light airs. “I was fighting with Jingle Chen all the way round in the second race, but then she couldn’t make the mark. I’m really happy. It’s my first international competition where I’m in the top three.”
Even though Damasiewicz stumbled in the day’s first race and failed to finish, eking out a second spot in the day’s final race earned her valuable position that kept her just ahead of Chen on the leaderboard.
“That was cool,” said Damasiewicz. “The wind is tricky here and you don’t know where it’s going. I was second in the last race and I was happy to finish. Magda’s my friend and we’re always fighting on the water. If one of us makes a mistake, the other wins. I prefer strong wind, but when it’s light she’s the hero.”
The youngest competitor Max Maeder (SNG), just 12, was equally happy. He had been second in the day’s last race, before it was abandoned. “I was second and I wanted it to go on so that I could finish it,” he said. “I was really happy I made it back to the beach without swimming. I’m certainly learning a lot in every race.”
Top five men after ten races (two discards)
1 Denis Taradin (RUS) 8pts
2 Mario Calbucci (ITA) 18pts
3 Ejder Ginyol (TUR) 21pts
4 Sam Bullock (NZL) 25pts
5 Lukas Walton-Keim (NZL) 33pts
Top five women after ten races (two discards)
1 Magdalena Woyciechowska (POL) 14pts
2 Julia Damasiewicz (POL) 26pts
3 Jingle Chen (CHN) 27pts
4 Natalie Flintrop-Clarke (AUS) 28pts
5 Benyapa Jantawan (THA) 39pts
Full results: http:/www.formulakite.com