The Youth Olympic Games are taking place in Buenos Aires from 6th to 18th October. The sailing competitions (windsurf, kitesurf and catamaran) are happening just over 30km west of the city, at Argentina’s famous San Isidro sailing club on the shores of the immense Rio del Plata river delta. The Olympic Committee has once again selected the Techno 293 OD as the official competition board, and the 48 athletes who had qualified from 2017 and 2018’s national and international Techno events are here in Argentina for the showdown.
Since the previous Olympics in China in 2014, the age limit has been raised from 17 to 19 years old. As a result, the young racers will be riding the super-vitamin version of the Techno 293 OD, the Techno +, with an 8.5 m2 sail and 50cm fin. As was the case at 2014’s Youth Olympics in China, national teams are required to be mixed gender. A 2014 innovation that has now become a hard and fast rule for YOG sailing events.
The Games got underway on Saturday, with a massive and grandiose opening ceremony in one of Buenos Aires’ biggest squares. Over 200,000 people were present for an occasion that was broadcast on television networks around the world.
The first races were held on Sunday, in light winds that struggled to reach 10 knots, meaning that only the Techno + class was able to commence its action, with two races in each of the two categories. And the pre-race favourites are already showing very strongly in the girls event, especially serial World Champion, Italian Georgia Speciale. She won both opening races and leads from France’s Manon Pianazza and Russia’s Yana Reznikova. Surprises in the boy’s event though, with some new names appearing on the race podiums. It’s Greek rider Kalpogianakis leading the way after day one, followed by China’s Haoze Chen and Italy’s Nicolo Renna. But it’s early days as yet, the racing has only just started and the stronger winds forecast to blow in later in the week should give the current standings a serious shake-up.