Team GB’s Emma Wilson vows to go one better after World Championship silver
CHRISTCHURCH’S Emma Wilson admitted that she is learning to love the challenging new format of iQFOiL racing after winning world championship silver in Lanzarote.
The unique format of the iQFOiL saw Wilson win 15 out of 20 qualifying races before having her achievements wiped out in the final series, winning world silver behind Sharon Kantor of Israel.
The Paris-bound windsurfer qualified Team GB for a spot at the 2024 Olympics with bronze at the World Sailing Championships in the Hague last summer, and she said she was thrilled to climb further up the podium in Lanzarote as she dominated the competition.
“I was a bit surprised at how well I was sailing, to be honest, and I’m really happy with it,” she said.
“I sailed really well, winning most of the races, and I was so far ahead on the points, which was pretty cool.
“This season, it’s the first time that we just have one final race to decide the medals, and I came second in that, so I ended up winning silver overall.
“I had a start penalty in the final race because I went over the line too early and so had to start five seconds behind.
“But I still came second, and I nearly beat the person first, so I think I just need to put it all together at some point.”
The new winner-takes-all racing format in iQFOiL sees the top 10 athletes from qualifying contests take part in high-intensity knockout racing to determine the medals.
Wilson’s silver in Lanzarote proves the format’s cruel and exciting nature, but the Tokyo 2020 bronze medallist revealed that she’s relishing the challenge it brings.
“Originally, in sailing, if you were 20 points ahead, you could win before the medal race, but I was 61 points ahead before the final and still came second,” she said.
“The new format is about trying to make it a better spectacle for those watching, and I do think it is exciting.
“It’s just pretty hard as an athlete to do 20 races, and then you have one more race to do your best. I think I’m learning to enjoy it, though.
“We’ve known about it now for about four years, so you have to suck it up and get on with it.
“I feel like I’m actually getting a lot better at the format. It’s just that the results don’t show it yet.
“It’s a good challenge, and I definitely feel like it will make me pretty good at performing under pressure.”
Surprising even herself with a strong week of racing, Wilson hopes that her world championship performance has shaken up her competitors in the run-up to Paris 2024, where the iQFOiL class will make its Olympic debut.
And with the famed Palma World Cup around the corner, the windsurfer believes it will be a key chance to practice the new format one last time ahead of this summer.
She added: “I surprised myself with how fast I was in Lanzarote, so maybe people will be looking at me to see what I’m doing in the next few months.
“But honestly, I think anyone in the top 10 could win when we get to Paris.
“We have the Palma de Mallorca World Cup next up, which pretty much everyone in the world does.
“I think it will just be another good time to practice that final medal race, which will be one of my goals out there.”
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