African Kite Racing Championships - Day 1
by Panagiotis Marinopoulos on 25 Jun 2014
The African Kite Championship 2014, one of the world’s largest kite surfing competitions, returns to Egypt the Red Sea at 7Bft Kite House in Soma Bay. Champions from around the world, top-ranked sailors, and emerging young talent have traveled to Egypt to compete for the 20,000 Euro prize money given out by the Egyptian Sailing and Water Ski Federation and Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports join in the thrilling challenge to hunt down the German world champion Florian Gruber in his efforts to defend his title in 2014.
African Kite Racing Championships 2014 © Icarus Sailing Media http://www.icarussailingmedia.com/
After narrowly missing last year’s title in Soma Bay, Florian Gruber went on to win three world championships in China and Australia. As first in the world, Gruber’s competitors are keen to take his ranking and know they must bring their best skills to Egypt to do so. Most notably is Columbia’s Riccardo Leccese who placed fourth in last year’s championship.
The first day of the African Kite Championship 2014 kicked off with an exciting start at 7Bft Kite House in Soma Bay. In the men’s division, German world champion Florian Gruber faced off with his toughest competitor Riccardo Leccese. For the women’s division, the UK’s Steph Bridge, last year’s contenting champion, raced to defend her title against Russia’s emerging talent Elena Kalinina.
Leccese and Kalinina, who both came in fourth in last year’s African Kite Championship in Soma Bay, have made stunning comebacks on their first day of racing. Leccese dominated the first day placing first in all four rounds, followed closely by Gruber placing second. Likewise, Kalinina grabbed first place throughout the day with Steph Bridge close on her tail.
Quote Florian Gruber/ Germany:'Today, we finished the first race day and I am currently runner-up, not far away from Ricardo. It is possible to beat him. The next few days will be a tight race for the title.'
Quote Riccardo Leccese/ Italy:'With the champ, Florian ‘the flow’, I have a good relation outside the water but in the water we are warriors. If you are a fish you have to have a shark in your tank, otherwise you sleep. Florian is my shark and I am his, we are always battling for the first position. I like that healthy rivalry. I have been training a lot, I am really committed to do well this year, I won four rounds today and I am fully prepared.'
Steph Bridge/ United Kingdom:'Today I did not have such a great day but hopefully tomorrow I will find some new speed and some news feeling in my head to continue to perform like last year.'