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Christchurch windsurfer Wilson vows to battle back after last-day Euro heartbreak

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Emma Wilson at the RSX European Championships in Portugal (picture: Joao Costa Ferreira)
Emma Wilson at the RSX European Championships in Portugal (picture: Joao Costa Ferreira)

CHRISTCHURCH’S Team GB windsurfer Emma Wilson has vowed to bounce back after falling out of contention for a medal at the RS:X European Championships in the final race.

Wilson went into the double-points medal race in the runner-up position and with a good shot at her first senior European title after an impressive week of racing in Vilamoura, Portugal.

After shooting out of the blocks, 21-year-old Wilson led the 10-athlete fleet round the first part of the course. Then disaster struck when she was involved in a collision for which the on-water judges decided to penalise her.

After completing her penalty turns, Wilson then got hit with a windshift which put her at the back of the fleet, leaving her unable to reel in her rivals before the finish.

Crossing the line in 10th gave Wilson a maximum 20 points, relegating her from medal contention and into fourth in the overall standings behind France’s Charline Picon, Israel’s Katy Spychakov and Poland’s Zofia Klepacka.

Wilson said the result was “pretty hard to take” after a solid week which saw her finish outside the top eight only twice, but said the disappointment would fuel her desire to win when racing resumes in spring.

The European Champion-ships was the RS:X class’s first major event since the worlds in Australia in February.

Wilson added: “I had a great week and I am very grateful to be able to compete during this Covid situation.

“It was a tough medal race, going into it in second and then leading the race. Then I got caught up in an incident which meant I had to take a penalty, and that cost me a medal.

“It’s pretty tough to take right now, but these things happen sometimes. All I can say is it’s made me so determined, and I will come back stronger.”

Wilson’s primary focus is the delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, which is provisionally scheduled to run from 23rd July to 8th August next year. The competition will be her Olympic Games debut and the final outing for the RS:X class after governing body World Sailing announced that the traditional RS:Xs would be changed to foiling vessels 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.

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