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Draw of Olympics kiteboarding glory prompts nations to field big teams

The lure of winning kiteboarding’s inaugural medals at the forthcoming Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in Argentina has pushed many countries to field large national teams at the TwinTip:Racing (TT:R) Slalom World Championships in China. For the first time in kiteboarding, big national squads backed by their national sailing and kiting federations have made the trip to Hainan Island’s Bo’ao in the hope their young racers can land some of the remaining eight slots for the games in Buenos Aires in October. While racing on the water is an individual effort, the racers, all born between 2000 and 2003, have been revelling in their national team identities. Even smaller nations with fewer resources have provided backing, including team clothing, to foster national pride. On the first of five scheduled days of racing at the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA) TT:R Youth Worlds on Asia Bay, which will also serve as a YOG qualifier, the wind failed to climb above the required 10kts necessary for fair TT:R Slalom competition. But the forecast for the days ahead look good. The lay day under the tropical sunshine saw the 38 boys and 24 girls from 26 countries and six continents chill under the palm trees …

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