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Breiana Whitehead shows she's a strong contender for Paris 2024

by Australian Sailing Team / Lisa Darmanin 19 May 20:10 PDT
Breiana Whitehead © Robert Hajduk IKA media

Breiana Whitehead finished fifth at the Formula Kite World Championships, held over the past six days in Hyeres, France. With three French competitors ahead of her in the standings, Whitehead also achieved the position of third nation and with it a significant boost in confidence for the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, which is limited to one entry per nation.

The week of intense competition featured a range of conditions that challenged the 125 competitors from 36 nations. Whitehead advanced to the semi-finals in fifth place but was beaten by French rider Jessie Kampman for a spot in the top four final.

Reflecting on the competition, Whitehead said, "We had a great range and really nice conditions. The sun was out after the first day and turned on some glamour conditions towards the end of the week. The girls were pushing so hard all week and it was amazing to get to test out my performance on the whole range of kites (minus the 9m)."

Looking ahead, Whitehead is planning to take a short break to recharge before resuming her preparations for the Olympics. "Next steps are to have a bit of time off. I've had a packed start to the year, and a little break is much needed to recharge and focus before the Games. Then it's to Marseille and getting prepared for the Olympics," she stated.

Following her victory at the World Cup at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta at the beginning of April, and two fifth-place finishes and third nation at both the French Olympic Week and the World Championships, Whitehead's impressive performances underscore her status as a top competitor and a strong contender for Paris 2024.

The excitement is palpable for Whitehead. "It's insane to think that the next event I do is the Olympics. I'm so stoked to come away with a fifth at the Worlds and third country, I'm really excited for what's ahead."

In the women's division, Frenchwoman Lauriane Nolot successfully defended her title, winning back-to-back World Championships. In the men's division, 17-year-old Max Maeder from Singapore once again took the championship, highlighting these riders as the ones to watch at the upcoming Olympics in Marseille.

Australia also had two men competing in the event, though the nation has not secured a quota spot for the Paris 2024 Olympics. Hector Paturau (ASF) finished 17th in the silver fleet (42nd overall), while Oscar Timm (ASF) won the bronze fleet (53rd overall).

Australian Sailing Team High Performance Director Iain Brambell commented, "Brei continues to post impressive results, it's been great to watch her progression from Palma to Worlds as she pushes towards the Olympics in just 67 days' time."

Commenting on the overall preparation of the team for Paris 2024, Brambell shared, "Our Olympic team roster is now complete, and we will see 12 athletes compete across eight disciplines in Marseille. Many of our athletes are already in Marseille, doing their final preparation and becoming familiar with all the intricacies of the venue and the patterns of the Olympic waters."

This rounds out all major competition for sailing ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympics that will be held in Marseille from 28th July to 9th August, with the Whitehead set to compete 4th through to 8th of August.

Results can be found here.

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Pathway Team (ASPT), Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) and other Australian entries (AUS)

Formula Kite Women's - 46 Entries

5th - Breiana Whitehead (ASPT)

Formula Kite Men's - 79 Entries

42nd - Hector Paturau (ASF)
53rd - Oscar Timm (ASF)

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