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2019 RS:X Youth World Championship at St. Petersburg, Russia - Opening Ceremony

by Alexey Zhirov 6 Aug 2019 04:36 PDT 5-10 August 2019
RS:X Youth World Championship 2019 © Anya Semeniouk

The opening ceremony and the first training races took place on the 5th of August in the Park of the 300th Anniversary of St. Petersburg. On the registration day, the participants of the World Championship in RS:X class got an idea of the typical St. Petersburg's summer weather. The strong wind (gusts up to 20 knots), low air temperature (15ºC) and cold water (18ºC) - here are three main concomitants of the windsurfers' training.

And if the weather was hardly pleasant for the guests of the racing village, then the athletes themselves glowed with happiness. They had a good race in these extreme weather conditions, they planned with joy and also had an opportunity to check the equipment before tomorrow's competition. After several training sessions, they came back tired but satisfied.

Frenchman Fabien Pianaza - the main favourite of the World Championship - shared his impressions of the training.

"It's very cool outside because of the strong wind. Though, there is no sense in making conclusions after the training races.Tomorrow there will be different weather conditions. I'm good with this water area and the weather, so everything is great," said Fabien Pianaza, two-time winner of the Youth World Championship.

Some participants chose a different tactic today and stayed on the shore to save energy before the competition itself.

"I didn't go outside because I don't want to get tired before the races," explained Polish athlete Jan Goralski. "I need more time to prepare the equipment. Tomorrow everything should be perfect. I want to relax a little bit, have fun and prepare myself morally for the first day of the competition".

The Organizing Committee has arranged a big set of coastal events for the athletes and guests. The mascot of the World Championship - Brown Bear was welcoming the participants. Organizers decided to follow the traditions and chose this mascot, which had proved itself at the home Olympics in 1980 and 2014, because of the world-wide popularity and recognition of it as a symbol of Russia. The participants' reaction to the Bear's appearance was very vivid, they were giving him hugs and taking selfies with him.

The opening ceremony began with the participants' parade with their national flags. 104 windsurfers from 19 countries have arrived at St. Petersburg. Flags of Russia, Israel, Turkey, Hong Kong, Holland, Greece, Spain, the USA, Italy, France, Thailand, Japan, Great Britain, Poland, the Philippines, Belarus, Cyprus, Estonia and Oman were proudly flying above the Park of the 300th Anniversary of St. Petersburg.

The best young windsurfers of the world, including silver medalist of the World Championship - Yana Reznikova and current champion - Fabien Pyanaza, raised the flags of the host country of the tournament - Russia, the general partner of the regatta - PJSC Gazprom, the organizer - Yacht Club of St. Petersburg and the Federation of the RS:X class.

During the opening ceremony of the World Championship in RS:X class, the honoured guests greeted the athletes with welcoming speeches.

"On behalf of the Acting Governor of St. Petersburg Alexander Dmitrievich Beglov, I am glad to welcome the participants of the World Championship in the Northern and Marine Capital," said the Vice Governor of St. Petersburg, Vladimir Kirillov. "It is no coincidence that the regatta is held in our city, the most beautiful city in Europe. I would like to wish the participants good results, great mood and, of course, to experience the beauty of our beloved city. I wish you happiness, success and a tail-on wind!"

"On behalf of the organizers of the competition, the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, I am pleased to welcome you here," said Elena Solovyova, Project Manager of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. "Every year we hold greate international regattas. This year we are organizing The Youth World Championship in the RS: X Olympic class. I assure you, we will hold these competitions in the way we would accept the Olympic Games. The reconstruction of our Yacht Club is going to end soon. And then we will be very happy to host the largest international competitions and to welcome you in St. Petersburg again. For us it is not just a sport. All of you represent your countries in Russia. I hope that you will see St. Petersburg and Russia as we see them and return home with the best of impressions".

"We are honoured that the RS: X class International Association has entrusted the World Championship to be held in this beautiful city, " said Vladimir Silkin, President of the All-Russian Sailing Federation. "This is the Northern and Marine Capital of Russia and the first Yacht Club, which appeared 301 years ago. I believe that you will get an unforgettable experience from racing and enjoying this beautiful city. I am sure that all of you will leave with the desire to return here as soon as possible".

As you can see, the weather in St. Petersburg is sunny and windy. I hope that this weather will last for the entire World Championship," said Andrews Poxy, Secretary-General of the International RS:X class. "My special thanks to all athletes who came to St. Petersburg. I also want to thank the volunteers, organizers, sponsors and everyone, who supports the RS:X class. I wish you a great race. This is a great time to enjoy the beautiful views of St. Petersburg".

The bronze medalist of the 2016 Olympic Games and the ambassador of the Windsurfing Youth World Championship - Stefania Elfutina has recorded a video message for the participants of the World Championship in RS:X class.

"I'm happy to welcome you at the Windsurfing Youth World Championship," said Stephania. "It's a great honour to host the competition of this level in Russia. I wish everyone to reach the highest results and experience a lot of positive emotions. Have a good week!"

At the end of the ceremony, there was a performance by the cover-band from Pskov, "Drum & Jazz", who played compositions in a variety of styles (from jazz to popular music). The music helped athletes to tune in before the races.

Competitions' Program:

August 6 - 11:00 start of the first race of the competition's day
August 7 - 11:00 start of the first race of the competition's day
August 8 - 11:00 start of the first race of the competition's day
August 9 - 11:00 start of the first race of the competition's day
August 10 - 11:00 start of the first race of the competition's day, 18:30 awarding ceremony of the regatta, closing ceremony of the regatta

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