Britain established itself as a major force on the Olympic kitefoiling circuit today as Olly Bridge and Connor Bainbridge scooped silver and bronze at the Formula Kite World Championships.
World class riders Bridge and Bainbridge, along with Guy Bridge, joined the British Sailing Team in late 2018 after kitefoiling was voted to be put forward for the slate of events for the Paris 2024 Olympics.
The trio were already big names in the kitefoiling world – and continued to stamp their dominance on the international scene at the 2019 world championships in Lake Garda, Italy.
As well as the podium spots won by Bridge and Bainbridge, Guy Bridge finished eighth overall. The event was won by France’s Nico Parlier.
“This result means a huge amount to me, making my first mark on international circuit,” said Bainbridge, a former windsurfer with the British Sailing Team.
“It shows me I am on the right route and my training has been paying off. This regatta highlighted to me how important a strong support team both on and off the water are going to be going forward and I’m determined to create this as soon as possible to best position myself for the 2024 gold.
“Britain is in a strong position with a huge amount of natural talent and with the right program we are massive contenders for dominating the kite tour over the next five years.”
The event was also the first major test for the British Sailing Team’s female riders, who were selected for the programme following the #kite4gold initiative.
#kite4gold was a talent search run by the British Sailing Team, the British Kitesports Association and the English Institute of Sport to identify potential female Paris 2024 medallists.
Ellie Aldridge, a dinghy racer-turned-rider, was the British Sailing Team’s highest ranked female in ninth, and was second British female behind Steph Bridge who came home in sixth.
“It’s been super exciting to put our winter training to the test and really see what the girls fleet is like,” Aldridge said. “Despite the tough conditions I had a really fun week of epic fleet racing and a day of team relay racing. My drive to be at the top is indescribable, I’m so excited to get back training and continue the progression throughout summer and beyond.”
Maddy Anderson was 16th, Jemima Crathorne 18th and Katie Dabson 24th.
Full results from the regatta can be found here.