by Fran Finch
In response to the ISAF Decision to exclude windsurfing from the 2016 Olympics in Rio:
Noelle Finch rounding the mark - RS:X Youth World Championships 2011
I am writing this as the parent of a young windsurfer who, in the debate about the decision by ISAF to axe windsurfing from the 2016 Olympics, seems largely unrepresented. Our daughter, Noelle, is 17 and the current female U17 RS:X European and World Champion.
She was the youngest in the fleet and fifth U21 in the recent RS:X Senior Europeans in Madeira in March of this year. She was first selected for a national windsurfing squad within the RYA in the UK in 2006 and was U15 European Champion (on the Bic Techno) in 2009. She has been part of a fantastic RYA youth training programme which has given her the support and guidance to develop.
She absolutely loves windsurfing and now, six years on, doing her sport has become a way of life, a commitment which has meant juggling school and exams while training and competing. This decision has taken this from her. She has many young friends in the UK and globally in the same situation.
Noelle Finch - RYA Volvo Youth National Championships 2012
Who is representing them here? They are surely the foundation and future of most sports – young people with talent and passion and the drive and determination to work hard towards a goal. The journey is just as important and it is wrong for all sports for this to be destroyed in this case so needlessly for so many. We feel that the RS:X Class has met all the requirements placed on it by ISAF and ticks all the criteria for being an Olympic discipline. Noelle has just competed at 'Sail for Gold' in Weymouth where many people were saying: 'We never thought windsurfing would be voted out'. Why? As I understand it, because the expectation was that the system would not allow for the Council to disregard the recommendation of their own experts who voted 17-2 in favour of windsurfing.