Please select your home edition
Barton Marine 2019 728x90

Dutch born Windsurfer has sights on Kiwi berth at Tokyo

by Suzanne Mcfadden 26 Mar 2019 17:24 PDT 27 March 2019
Veerle ten Have (NZL) - RS:X - Day 4 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus - August 2018 © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

It’s been over a decade since a Kiwi woman windsurfed at the Olympic Games.

The last (and, actually, our only female Olympic windsurfer) was 1992 ‘golden girl’ Barbara Kendall, who bowed out after her fifth Olympics in Beijing 2008.

But Kendall, who won a medal of every hue, can see hope sailing on the horizon. And she’s thrilled to finally have a successor.

It’s Tauranga teenager Veerle ten Have who Kendall sees breaking the drought, and who she thinks could have a shot at competing at next year’s Tokyo Olympics.

“Vee has all the spirit, all the energy, and all the right ingredients to be a rock star,” says Kendall.

“She’s one of the most positive, happy, intelligent, determined and focused young women that we’ve had in windsurfing for a long time. And I’m glad she’s around.”

Ten Have hopes that Kendall is right.

The 18-year-old is putting all she has into getting to Tokyo 2020. That’s meant training every day - on her own - on the Tauranga Harbour, and doing her final year of high school through correspondence, so she can travel the globe training and racing on the world windsurfing circuit.

It was only recently, though, that ten Have – New Zealand’s top female boardsailor - began seriously considering herself as a candidate for Tokyo. Originally a competitive horse rider, she only took up windsurfing when her horse was injured. Tthe Olympics never figured in her future.

“Even when I’d go to a world championship [she’s already been to seven] I didn’t have the Olympics in mind,” she says.

But when she won a silver medal at the youth sailing world championships in Corpus Christi last July – the highlight of her career so far - it made her think again.

A little sage advice from Kendall helped, too. Ten Have competed at the Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires last October, but was disappointed with her 13th placing. She was sailing a smaller techno board that didn't suit her: “I’m way too big for them."

Kendall, who was the chef de mission of the New Zealand Youth Olympic team, took ten Have aside and reassured her.

“I told her ‘you’ve come this far, and it’s only a couple of years until Tokyo. You have all the ingredients you need to get there, and you’ll regret it if you don’t give it a good nudge’,” Kendall says.

“If she does what she’s meant to do, she will make it to Tokyo. By Paris 2024, she’ll be in exactly the right age bracket and have the right formula to do incredibly well.”

If she doesn’t make it this time, it won’t be through lack of trying. Every day, ten Have takes her RS:X windsurfer and sails out into the Tauranga Harbour, off Sulphur Point.

The spit of land, that juts out towards Mount Maunganui, has recently earned its place in New Zealand sailing folklore. It’s the home of the Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club, whose sailors won three medals at the last Olympics - Sam Meech (bronze), Molly Meech (silver), and victorious America’s Cup helmsman Peter Burling (gold).

Ten Have – who was born in the Netherlands, and came to New Zealand as a five-year-old - usually sails her daily two-hour workouts alone. “If there are boats going out, I’ll go with them,” she says.

She used to train with Max van der Zalm, a talented windsurfer who also represented New Zealand at the Youth Olympics. “But he’s away doing his basic training for the Navy,” she says.

For the rest of this story from Newsroom's Suzanne McFadden

Related Articles

Olympic postponement creates new challenges
Latest Sail-World newsletter from David Schmidt in the USA After much debate, hand-wringing, and tough decision-making, the International Olympic Committee and the Japanese organizers of the XXXII Olympiad have announced that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be postponed by one year due to the novel coronavirus. Posted on 31 Mar
New dates for Tokyo 2020 announced
Olympic and Paralympic Games to be held 23 July - 8 August 2021 The IOC, IPC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan today agreed new dates for the Games of the XXXII Olympiad, in 2021. Posted on 30 Mar
Tentative date set for re-staging of Tokyo 2020
Task Force formed to resolve logistics and costs of Olympic rescheduling Task Force formed to resolve logistics and costs of Olympic rescheduling. In an America's Cup relevant story reports that the Tour de France could take place in June-July as a TV only event without any roadside fans permitted. Posted on 27 Mar
Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games postponed
Conclusion reached that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad must be rescheduled The President of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, and the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe Shinzo, held a conference call this morning to discuss the constantly changing environment with regard to COVID-19 and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. Posted on 24 Mar
Three Olympic reps named, SailGP, Caribbean 600
Latest Sail-World USA newsletter from David Schmidt For U.S. Olympic hopefuls, three important athlete qualifications were recently determined at the 2020 Laser Radial World Championships and the 2020 RS:X World Championships, both of which took place on the waters off of Melbourne, Australia. Posted on 3 Mar
IOC statement on the coronavirus
IOC expressed its full commitment to the success of the Olympic Games The IOC EB heard a report on all the measures taken so far to address the coronavirus situation, which was followed by a comprehensive discussion. Posted on 3 Mar
More tough news for U.S. Olympic sailing interests
Latest Sail-World North American newsletter from David Schmidt Let's face it: The situation for U.S. Olympic sailing has been bleak for a long time, and based on last week's news, odds are now good that the news cycle will continue to be bumpy through the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Posted on 24 Sep 2019
Tokyo2020: Olympic changes in US and Ireland
Hard decisions made in USA and Ireland by competitors and management US Sailing, who will host country for the 2028 Olympic Regatta, has lost two of it key personnel in the run-up to the 2020 Olympic Regatta in Tokyo. Posted on 19 Sep 2019
Malcolm Page on the U.S. Olympic selection process
An interview with Malcolm Page about the U.S. Olympic sailing selection process I checked in with Malcolm Page, US Sailing's chief of Olympic sailing, via email, to learn more about the team's refined selection process for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 (July 24-August 9). Posted on 28 Aug 2019
Ready Steady Tokyo day 6
Light winds mar final day of Olympic test event in Enoshima, Japan Just one Medal Race could be sailed on Day 6 of Ready Steady Tokyo - Sailing, the official test event for Tokyo 2020 in Enoshima. Only the 470 Women's Medal Race went ahead, starting just after 16:00 local time. Posted on 22 Aug 2019
Official-Event-Store-Navy 728x90 BOTTOMMelges IC37 2019 FooterCyclops Marine 2020 - FOOTER