Windsurfing whiz Wilson bags European bronze
Tokyo 2020 bronze medal-winning windsurfer Emma Wilson picked up her second medal of 2023, finishing the iQFOiL European Championships in third.
Wilson, 24, followed up her victory at the Princess Sofia Trophy season opener in Palma last month with another podium spot as the Olympic windsurfing circuit headed to Patras, Greece.
Strong winds greeted more than 200 of the world’s top athletes, creating challenging conditions over the six-day competition.
Wilson came out firing, winning two races on the first day and going on to notch up 11 podium finishes across the regatta’s 19 races.
Wilson won an automatic spot in the semi-final, then scored a top-two finish to bag a spot in the winner-takes-all final, crossing the line in third to take bronze behind Norway’s Mina Mobekk and Sharon Kantor of Israel.
“I’m super happy with my result,” said Wilson, from Christchurch, Dorset. “I had a pretty challenging week with sickness and not being able to eat anything, which in 25 knots on an iQFOiL wasn’t the easiest thing, but I’m super proud to have fought through that and managed to get through the semis.
“In the final I pushed as hard as I could, and, in the end, after a wind shift and a crash on the last reach, I ended in 3rd. Actually I’m just super happy and grateful to be in that position.
“A huge thanks to everyone who supports me, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the year.”
Wilson was pushed hard by British teammate Islay Watson, who remained inside the top ten until the final day of fleet racing when some big scores relegated her to 14th, while Saskia Sills came home 20th.
In the men’s fleet Princess Sofia Trophy winner Sam Sills also enjoyed a strong start, but some higher scores midweek dropped him down the leaderboard.
An impressive second-half comeback lifted the Cornish sailor back into medal contention with a spot in the quarter finals, but despite a strong start luck was not on his side and he finished the event in 8th overall.
“It was a really long, difficult week with lots of windy conditions,” said Sills, from Launceston. “I had a few equipment issues and a bit of bad luck, and so I had to fight hard to get back into a position where I could win a medal. I had a great start in the quarter final race but lost out when the other side of the racetrack to the one I picked paid off.
“I might not have made it happen this time but I’m happy that I did my best. It’s been a long journey to get to this position and I’m just looking forward to the summer.”
The British Sailing Team’s focus now turns to San Remo in Italy for the 470 European Championships, starting today.