Windsurfers rocked by Olympics ruling

British sailing performance director John Derbyshire admits he was disappointed by the decision to drop windsurfing in favour of kiteboarding for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) announced on Saturday the discipline would be replaced by kiteboarding after this summer's Games.

"The decision to replace windsurfing with kiteboarding will of course be a huge blow to the windsurfing community, and we're disappointed for all those who are working at the coal face of the RYA's windsurfing programmes to deliver activity and British success on the world stage who will be affected most by this decision," Derbyshire said.

The decision has been met by surprise and frustration within windsurfing, with an online petition already set up to urge the ISAF to keep it as an Olympic discipline.

Derbyshire was present when the decision was made by the ISAF Council at its mid-year meetings in Stresa, Italy, and left torn by the decision.

"Kiteboarding made a solid case for its Olympic inclusion at the March trials and although a surprise that ISAF has voted it into the Olympic programme at this stage, it appears that the Council of ISAF wished to seize the opportunity, rather than wait until 2020," he said.

"This decision will force the pace of change and the RYA is looking forward to the opportunity of working with kiteboarders and the British Kitesurfing Association in order to develop the talent pathway for this new event, and to using the strengths of our UK Sport lottery funded high performance system that has become the envy of the world so that GBR is well-placed to deliver the first Olympic kiteboarding medals in Rio in four years' time."

In addition to kiteboarding's introduction, the ISAF confirmed the equipment selection for the 2016 Games.

Following equipment trials held in Santander, Spain, in March, the Mackay FX - referred to as the 49er FX - was chosen choice for the new two-person women's skiff discipline.

Meanwhile, the Nacra 17 has been confirmed as the boat to be used in the two-person mixed multihull event on which Derbyshire added: "The 49er FX and the Nacra 17 both performed well in the Santander trials and stand to be great additions to the Olympic sailing programme both in terms of the challenge they present to sailors and their visual appeal."

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