WITH Covid-19 taking centre stage this summer, Christchurch windsurfer Emma Wilson traded a trip to Tokyo for the comforts of home.
Wilson, who is the youngest member of the UK sailing team at 21, was unable to fulfil her dream to go to the Olympic Games after the IOC decided to postpone the games until next year amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In an A&T interview, Wilson spoke about her lockdown experience: “It was nice to be at home for a while in a way. It was just me, mum and dad here and we set up a little gym in the garage. I’ve never spent so much time at home since I started my Olympic journey four years ago.”
The Team GB RS:X windsurfer expressed that it was a challenging being out of action: “It was mentally hard because I couldn’t get out onto the water. I’ve never spent that long off the water before.
“But I think I used the time quite well. I did a lot of fitness, and once they said the Olympics was postponed, it was easier to get your head around. I could do fitness and not have to go straight to the Olympics after not being on the water.
“It was amazing to get back out onto the water. I felt a little rusty at first, but I feel good now, and I’m enjoying the training. It makes you put stuff into perspective when you’re not stuck in lockdown.”
With the Olympic Games just under a year away, Wilson has kept her sights set on the shores of Enoshima Island with socially-distanced training in Weymouth.
“Me and my coach were chatting the other day, and we were saying we should be at the Olympics right now. In a way, because I am young, it gives me another year to get some more experience, and I think it can only help me in that way.”
“The sessions have been a little different. We have to stay two metres apart and we try not to go on the boat and do shorter sessions. But most of the time, because we aren’t in an inside environment, so we can do most things.”
Japan has brought success for Wilson in the past.
After finishing fourth place in an Olympic testing event and taking fifth in the RS:X World Cup last year, Wilson is aware of the challenges that the Japanese conditions bring: “We had two different types of conditions last year. There were light winds and similar to the UK conditions on the hot, But the World Cup it was 25 knots and massive waves, so it’s a fun venue and you can get whatever.”
The world number three will follow in her mother’s footsteps, Penny, who competed at the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games in windsurfing.
Wilson said that it has helped to have the support from her family and explained what it would mean to claim a medal: “It would be amazing. It has been my dream before I even knew about my mum in the Olympics. But with my mum doing the same sport, she knows a lot and understands what I go through.
“I think winning a medal would be an amazing moment not just for my mum but for my dad, brother and me. So that’s the plan.
“I just really want the Olympics to happen. I’m just trying to put in all the work now and get there in the best shape possible and then enjoy it.”