Windsurfer Emma picked for Euros in first competition for eight months

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emma wilson European Championships
Christchurch windsurfer Emma Wilson (photo: RYA)

TEAM GB has selected Christchurch’s Emma Wilson for next week’s European Championships in Vilamoura, Portugal.

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The competition will end an eight-month break in major competition for the RS:X class.

The last major regatta for the 21-year-old was back in February at the RS:X World Championships in Sorrento, Australia, before Covid-19 impacted competition across the globe.

Wilson is aiming to get back into the racing groove as she looks to make an impact at the delayed Tokyo Olympics. The competition will be her Olympic Games debut and the final outing for the RS:X class.

After much debate, World Sailing announced that governing bodies should make the switch from the traditional RS:X to foiling in preparation for Paris 2024.

Foiling refers to the use of hydrofoils attached to the hull of fast boats, which provides additional lift at planing speeds, which is often enough to lift the hull out of the water.

For Wilson, who will be joined at the Euros by Tom Squires and Alysia Gibson, it is a chance to continue learning her craft and to check in on her rivals after such a long time apart.

Wilson said: “My goals for the event are just to try and perform as well as possible throughout the week and keep learning ahead of Tokyo. I think it will be an interesting competition with everyone coming back together after a long summer in their own countries, so I’m looking forward to it.”

Just like her competition, Wilson trained at home, but she got to see the best of British solidarity as friends and training partners came together to ensure they got plenty of time on the water.

Wilson continued: “Training has been going pretty well. I spent all summer in Weymouth enjoying my windsurfing, doing both some foiling and some RS:X. It’s a bit of an Olympic balancing act at the moment.

“We had a really nice group of people who came and helped out with some RS:X training which was really fun, and I am really grateful for because with the foiling now on the cards for Paris 2024 not many people want to sail the RS:X.”

The competition will be tough with world and Olympic medallists like the Netherlands’ Lilian De Geus and France’s Charline Picon in attendance. Still, Wilson is excited to take part.

She added: “I’ve been in Vilamoura now since the start of October training with a nice international group and I’m looking forward to the Europeans, fingers crossed it happens, and we can finish this weird year with a regatta.”

Racing begins in Vilamoura on 24th November and culminates on 28th November.

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