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The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) has confirmed the final event and equipment selections for the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition to be Kiteboarding. After a long discussion with a lot of enthusiasm and support for both sports, ISAF Council voted with a 19 to 17 majority that Kiteboarding will replace Windsurfing for the men's and women's board events in Rio.
ISAF President Göran Petersson stated: "Kiteboarding has proven to us that it is ready to be included into the list of prestigious ISAF Events and it is a fantastic addition to the sailing programme for the 2016 Olympic Games."
Sir Richard Branson, one of the IKAs Olympic Ambassadors and supporters from the very first minute added: “Well we all flew a kite to get kiteboarding in to the Olympics and unbelievably the kite has landed in Rio! Kiteboarding is now an Olympic sport! To celebrate this, myself, my family and a few friends will this week attempt to kite across the English Channel to show off the beauty of kite-surfing.”
In November 2011 an evaluation group was appointed to examine kiteboarding formats with the board events for Rio 2016 defined as 'windsurfing and/or kiteboarding'. The Evaluation Group recommended that kiteboarding be included in the ISAF Event family including the ISAF Sailing World Cup and the ISAF Sailing World Championships. ISAF Council then went one step further when selecting Kiteboarding to be part of the Olympic Sailing Competition in Rio 2016.
IKA Executive Secretary Markus Schwendtner said: "The decision today will change the lives of thousands of kiteboarders that now can live their Olympic dream. The National Sailing Associations will now include kiteboarding into their programs and coach and support the riders to go to the Olympic Qualification events. We never thought we would get this far in such a short time."
Kristin Boese, 9x Kiteboarding World Champion and strong ambassador for the Kiteboarding in the Olympics Campaign concludes: "It was incredible to see that council showed so much support for kiteboarding during yesterday's debate and that alone was very exciting for us. However, we never thought that we were going to stand a chance when it comes to the straight vote between kiteboarding and windsurfing and it was such a huge surprise when the result was announced. I will never forget this moment. I am so grateful for all the hard work the IKA and many others have put into the Kiteboarding in the Olympics campaign.“
The events to be contested at the 2016 Olympic Games are confirmed as:
Men's One Person Dinghy - Laser
Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial
Men's One Person Dinghy (heavy) - Finn
Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470
Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470
Men's Skiff - 49er
Women's skiff - 49er FX
Mixed Two Person Multihull - Nacra 17
These ten events will be featured in the 2012-2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup which kicks off in Melbourne in December as well as in the ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander, Spain in 2014.