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Semaine Olympique Francaise - The comeback queen Zofia Klepacka

by Matthew Pryor, Effets Mer on 12 Oct 2013
Zofia Klepacka in action © Breschi / FFVoile / SOF 2013 http://sof.ffvoile.com/
The Semaine Olympique Francaise, the fifth and final event in the Eurosaf Champions Sailing Cup, is currently underway in La Rochelle, France. If Brit Giles Scott has made a strong comeback in the Finn after a year out with the America's Cup and others are powering back from broken sacrums (Sophie de Turckheim), having their tonsils out (Mark Andrews) or cutting a tendon in their foot with broken bottle while cleaning their basement (Julien Bontemps), none hold a candle to the comeback queen Zofia Klepacka.

After winning bronze in the women's RS:X in Weymouth at the London 2012 Olympics, the 27-year-old Klepacka took some time and three months gave birth to a baby girl, Maria. But she leads the event after winning three of the eight races over the last eight days and has not been out of the top five .

'I am really happy, this is my first international regatta since the Olympic Games (London 2012) and I've been off from windsurfing because I had a baby three months ago,' Klepacka says with a mixture of surprise and delight. 'I'm going well, I'm at the front, it's the third day and we've had different conditions every day; the first day was light, yesterday really strong, today really light, lighter than the first day, and I am sailing in the top five all the time. I'm not supposed to be good here because my physical conditioning is very bad.'

Where would she put her fitness in percentage terms compared to last year? 'Compared to the Olympics I'm about 30%. I can't run, my body is not ready, so I'm only sailing. But you don't forget how to sail; the technique, the tactics but physically I need to work harder. I want to be ready next year for the world championships, this is training for me.'

Her results should perhaps not be such a surprise as Klepacka, the 2007 world champion, is a past master at this, having given birth to her son, Mariano after the 2008 Beijing Olympics. 'My parents are looking after them back home in Warsaw,' she says.

'I am planning to go to Rio (2016 Olympics). Before that we have qualification. But I'm interested in Nacra. If I qualify in RS:X I'll go to Rio to fight for a gold medal, I know I can do that, if not I want to change class for the Nacra. I like it, it's extreme and it looks nice. I'll know if I qualify for the RS:X a year before the Olympic Games.'
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